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Autoimmune Diseases
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 541760, 3 pages
Research Article

Association of HLA-DQB1*05:02 and DRB1*16 Alleles with Late-Onset, Nonthymomatous, AChR-Ab-Positive Myasthenia Gravis

1Laboratory of Immunogenetics, IME Foundation at Tor Vergata Polyclinic Hospital, 00133 Rome, Italy
2Department of Neurosciences, Tor Vergata University of Rome, Via Montpellier 1, 00133 Rome, Italy
3Department of Thoracic Surgery, Tor Vergata University of Rome, Via Montpellier 1, 00133 Rome, Italy
4Department of Neurosciences, IRCCS Fondazione S. Lucia, 00179 Rome, Italy

Received 16 May 2012; Revised 31 July 2012; Accepted 15 September 2012

Academic Editor: I. R. Mackay

Copyright © 2012 Manuela Testi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


An association of several HLA alleles with myasthenia gravis (MG) has been reported. Aim of this work was to analyze the HLA allele profile in a survey of 76 unselected Italian MG patients and in a subgroup characterized by disease onset after the age of 50 years, absence of thymoma, and presence of antiacetylcholine receptor antibodies. We defined this subgroup by the acronym LOAb. Typing was performed at low resolution for HLA-A, -B, and -DRB1 loci with sequence-specific oligonucleotide probe (PCR-SSO); at high resolution for HLA-DQB1 locus by PCR with sequence-specific primers (PCR-SSPS). HLA allele frequencies were compared with 100 healthy controls. No correlation was observed between MG and the studied HLA class I alleles. On the contrary, a strong positive association was found for the HLA class II alleles DQB1*05:02 ( ) and DRB1*16 ( ) in the LOAb subgroup ( ) of MG patients. Association between DQB1*05:02 and some subtypes of MG has been previously reported but not in patients with the LOAb characteristics. Therefore, the HLA allele DQB1*05:02 might be considered as a susceptibility marker for LOAb among Italians.