ORIGINAL COMMUNICATION

Journal of Neurology

, Volume 253, Issue 5, pp 636-639

First online:

Multiple sclerosis and autoimmune diseases

Epidemiology and HLA–DR association in North–east Italy
  • A. LaroniAffiliated withMultiple Sclerosis Centre of the Veneto, Region, First Neurology Clinic—Dept. of Neurosciences, University of Padova
  • , M. CalabreseAffiliated withMultiple Sclerosis Centre of the Veneto, Region, First Neurology Clinic—Dept. of Neurosciences, University of Padova
  • , P. PeriniAffiliated withMultiple Sclerosis Centre of the Veneto, Region, First Neurology Clinic—Dept. of Neurosciences, University of Padova
  • , M. P. AlbergoniAffiliated withBlood and Tissue Bank, University Hospital of Padova
  • , F. RanzatoAffiliated withMultiple Sclerosis Centre of the Veneto, Region, First Neurology Clinic—Dept. of Neurosciences, University of Padova
  • , M. TiberioAffiliated withMultiple Sclerosis Centre of the Veneto, Region, First Neurology Clinic—Dept. of Neurosciences, University of Padova
  • , L. BattistinAffiliated withIRCCS San CamilloMultiple Sclerosis Centre of the Veneto, Region, First Neurology Clinic—Dept. of Neurosciences, University of Padova
  • , P. GalloAffiliated withMultiple Sclerosis Centre of the Veneto, Region, First Neurology Clinic—Dept. of Neurosciences, University of Padova Email author 

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Abstract

An autoimmune background is thought to characterize the families of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, but disease patterns and HLA–DR association seem to vary considerably among different ethnic groups. We investigated the prevalence of autoimmune diseases in 245 MS patients and 245 age– and sex–matched normal controls (NC), originating from and living in North–east Italy, and their first degree relatives, using a case–control method. Further, HLA–DRB1 expression was analysed in MS and NC. The following significant findings were observed: 1) a significant excess of autoimmunity in firstdegree relatives of MS patients (p = 0.000), 2) an association of MS with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) (p = 0.02), 3) an increase in DR4 expression (namely DRB1*0401) in MS patients from families with multiple autoimmune pathology compared with reference MS patients (p=0.02) and NC (p=0.01).We conclude that the risk of autoimmune disease is higher in first–degree relatives of MS patients and that disease association and HLA–DR expression in North–east Italy differs from other geographic regions of Europe.

Key words

multiple sclerosis autoimmune disease epidemiology HLA–DR