Mol Biol (Mosk). 2003 Nov-Dec; 37(6): 999-1006
Russian State Medical University, Cardiology Research Center, Ministry of Public Health, Russian Federation, Moscow, Russia.
The myelin basic protein gene (MBP) can confer the susceptibility to multiple sclerosis, because its protein product is the main protein component of myelin of the central nervous system and a potential autoimmune antigen in the disease.
A possible association of multiple sclerosis with alleles and genotypes of a microsatellite repeat (TGGA)n, located to the 5' side from the first exon of MBP in ethnic Russians (126 patients with reliable multiple sclerosis and 142 healthy controls from Central Russia) was analyzed using the case-control method.
Upon separation of the tetranucleotide repeat site amplification products in 1.5% agarose gel, one can see two distinct bands that can be analyzed as two allele groups (A and B).
The distribution of allele A and B group frequencies as well as frequency of allele group B and genotype A/A reliably differs in multiple sclerosis patients and healthy controls.
Alleles A and the A/A genotype are associated with the development of multiple sclerosis.
We also analyzed the association of multiple sclerosis with combined bearing of alleles and genotypes A and B of MBP and groups of alleles of the DRB1 gene of the major histocompatibility complex that correspond to serospecificities DR1-DR18.
The comparison of subgroups of multiple sclerosis patients and healthy individuals, formed on the basis of the DRB1 phenotype, has shown a reliable increase in the frequency of allele B in healthy individuals and the genotype A/A frequency in patients, only among DR4- and DR5-positive individuals.
No reliable difference was found in the MBP allele and genotype distribution between multiple sclerosis patients and healthy individuals in combined groups of (DR4,DR5)-negative individuals, i.e., no carriers of any phenotype except DR4 and DR5 were revealed.
Thus, MBP or some other nearby gene is involved in the multiple sclerosis development in Russians, predominantly (or exclusively) among DR4 and DR5 carriers.
In this case, without stratification of analyzed individuals by the MBP alleles, multiple sclerosis is reliably associated only with DR2(15), but not of DR4 and DR5 alleles of DRB1.
The results obtained are in favor of the genetic heterogeneity of multiple sclerosis, and suggest the possibility of epistatic interactions between the MBP and DRB1 genes.