Evidence for the genetic role of human leukocyte antigens in low frequency DRB1*1501 multiple sclerosis patients in Israel

A. Karni*, Y. Kohn, C. Safirman, O. Abramsky, L. Barcellos, J. R. Oksenberg, E. Kahana, D. Karussis, J. Chapman, C. Brautbar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A strong association exists between multiple sclerosis (MS) and the DRB1*1501 haplotype, in most populations. Linkage of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) with the MHC or HLA region on chromosome 6p21 has previously been observed in DRB1*1501 positive MS families. A group of 13 Israeli multiplex MS families with a very low frequency of DRB1*1501 haplotype were examined in this study. Association and a linkage test were performed in order to identify a non-DRB1*1501 effect of HLA on susceptibility for MS. MS multiplex families and healthy controls were molecularly typed for six highly polymorphic markers located within the MHC region: DRB1, DQA1 and DQB1, BAT-2, MIB and D6S248. Data analyses included: (a) an association study comparing the patient group with both healthy relative, and healthy control groups (b) a transmission test for linkage disequilibrium (TDT) of the MS-associated alleles in the multiplex families, and (c) multipoint non-parametric linkage (NPL) and parametric LOD score analyses using the GENEHUNTER program. The DRB1*1303 allele was significantly more frequent among the MS patients. There was a trend towards transmission disequilibrium of DRB1*1303, but was not statistically significant. Allele sharing and LOD score analyses revealed no evidence for linkage. The high frequency of DRB1*1303 observed in our family patients provides evidence to support the association with this allele that previously described in sporadic non-Ashkenazi MS patients. Thus, DRB1*1303 may serve as genetic risk factor for MS. Our study exemplifies the genetic heterogeneity in MS as there is a genetic effect of HLA on MS susceptibility in our low frequency DRB1*1501 patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-415
Number of pages6
JournalMultiple Sclerosis Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1999


  • Association study
  • Human leukocyte antigens (HLA)
  • Linkage analysis
  • Major histocompatibility complex (MHC)
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)


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