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Journal of Immunology Research
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 746151, 11 pages
Review Article

Human Leukocyte Antigen Diversity: A Southern African Perspective

Department of Immunology and Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, P.O. Box 2034, Pretoria 0001, South Africa

Received 1 May 2015; Accepted 26 July 2015

Academic Editor: Nejat K. Egilmez

Copyright © 2015 Mqondisi Tshabalala 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.


Despite the increasingly well-documented evidence of high genetic, ethnic, and linguistic diversity amongst African populations, there is limited data on human leukocyte antigen (HLA) diversity in these populations. HLA is part of the host defense mechanism mediated through antigen presentation to effector cells of the immune system. With the high disease burden in southern Africa, HLA diversity data is increasingly important in the design of population-specific vaccines and the improvement of transplantation therapeutic interventions. This review highlights the paucity of HLA diversity data amongst southern African populations and defines a need for information of this kind. This information will support disease association studies, provide guidance in vaccine design, and improve transplantation outcomes.