HLA (A-B-C and -DRB1) alleles and brain MRI changes in multiple sclerosis: a longitudinal study


M Liguori, BC Healy, BI Glanz, SJ Khoury, N Moscufo, HL Weiner, PL De Jager, and CR Guttmann. 2011. “HLA (A-B-C and -DRB1) alleles and brain MRI changes in multiple sclerosis: a longitudinal study.” Genes Immun, 12, 3, Pp. 183-90.


Several major histocompatibility complex (MHC) alleles have been postulated to influence the susceptibility to multiple sclerosis (MS), as well as its clinical/radiological course. In this longitudinal observation, we further explored the impact of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I/II alleles on MS outcomes, and we tested the hypothesis that HLA DRB1*1501 might uncover different strata of MS subjects harboring distinct MHC allele associations with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measures. Five hundred eighteen MS patients with two-digit HLA typing and at least one brain MRI were recruited for the study. T2-weighted hyperintense lesion volume (T2LV) and brain parenchymal fraction (BPF) were acquired at each time point. The association between allele count and MRI values was determined using linear regression modeling controlling for age, disease duration and gender. Analyses were also stratified by the presence/absence of HLA DRB1*1501. HLA DRB1*04 was associated with higher T2LV (P=0.006); after stratification, its significance remained only in the presence of HLA DRB1*1501 (P=0.012). The negative effect of HLA DRB1*14 on T2LV was exerted in DRB1*1501-negative group (P=0.012). Longitudinal analysis showed that HLA DRB1*10 was significantly protective on T2LV accrual in the presence of HLA DRB1*1501 (P=0.002). Although the majority of our results did not withstand multiple comparison correction, the differential impact of several HLA alleles in the presence/absence of HLA DRB1*1501 suggests that they may interact in determining the different phenotypic expressions of MS.