More MS news articles for Jan 2002

HLA-DR 15 is associated with female sex and younger age at diagnosis in multiple sclerosis

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2002 Feb;72(2):184-187
Hensiek AE, Sawcer SJ, Feakes R, Deans J, Mander A, Akesson E, Roxburgh R, Coraddu F, Smith S, Compston DA.
University of Cambridge Neurology Unit, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 2QQ, UK MRC Biostatistics Unit, Institute of Public Health, University Forvie Site, Robinson Way, Cambridge CB2 2SR, UK Tissue Typing Laboratory, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 2QQ, UK.


The association between multiple sclerosis and class II alleles of the major histocompatibiliy complex, in particular the DRB1*1501-DQB1*0602 haplotype, is well established but their role in determining specific features of this clinically heterogeneous disease is unknown as few studies involving large sample sizes have been performed.


729 patients with multiple sclerosis were typed for the HLA DR15 phenotype. All patients underwent clinical assessment and a detailed evaluation of their clinical records was undertaken.


The presence of DR15 was associated with younger age at diagnosis and female sex but there was no association with disease course (relapsing-remitting or secondary progressive v primary progressive type), disease outcome, specific clinical features (opticospinal v disseminated form), diagnostic certainty (clinically and laboratory supported definite v clinically probable multiple sclerosis), and paraclinical investigations including the presence of oligoclonal bands in the CSF or characteristic abnormalities on MRI imaging of the central nervous system.


Even though DR15 carriers are more likely to be female and prone to an earlier disease onset, the results indicate that there is no association with other specific clinical outcomes or laboratory indices examined here. This suggests that DR15 exerts a susceptibility rather than disease modifying effect in multiple sclerosis.