All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for February 2004

The relation between the HLA DRB1*1501 allele and the severity of multiple sclerosis in a sample of the Spanish population from the Balearic Islands: the influence exerted by sex

Rev Neurol. 2004 Jan 16-31;38(2):118-22
Zabay Becerril JM, Burcet Darde J, Mulet Ferrer J, Soler Farre J, Viader Farre C.
Fundacion Balear Transplant, Palma de Mallorca, Espa a.


There is some controversy about the possible relation between HLA DR2 (DRB1*1501 DRB5*0101 DQA1*0102 DQB1*0602) and the severity of multiple sclerosis (MS), which could be due, at least in part, to methodological differences among the different studies dealing with this subject and/or to a lack of phenotypic homogeneity within the series of patients.


This study aims to contribute information about the possible relation between DR2 (more specifically the HLA DRB1*1501 allele) and the severity of MS.


We conducted a study of 43 individuals with clinically defined MS, whose degree of severity was determined using Kurtzke s EDSS, and 107 controls from a similar ethnic origin.

Determinations: HLA typing by PCR SSO and PCR SSP, analysis of oligoclonal IgG bands in CSF by isoelectric focusing, and quantification of the intrathecal synthesis of IgG (IgG index, IgG ratio, Reiber s formula and Tourtellotte s formula).

Statistics: c2 test, Mann Whitney test and Kendall correlation coefficient.


DRB1*1501 is associated with the presence of MS only in females and with lower severity of the disease only in males.

These associations do not appear to depend on any kind of effect exerted by DRB1*1501 on the intrathecal synthesis of IgG that differs between the two sexes.


The absence of a relation between DRB1*1501 and the severity of MS reported in many studies could be due to not stratifying the patients according to sex.

Our findings emphasise how important it is in genetic studies of complex traits to reduce the phenotypic heterogeneity of patients as much as possible.