The susceptibility to insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus bis associated with C4 allotypes independently of the association with HLA-DQ alleles in HLA-DR3, 4 heterozygotes
- Cite this article as:
- Thomsen, M., Mølvig, J., Zerbib, A. et al. Immunogenetics (1988) 28: 320. doi:10.1007/BF00364230
In the genetically homogeneous Danish population, 27 HLA-DR3,4 heterozygous patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) and 19 DR3,4 heterozygous controls without family history of IDDM were investigated for HLA-region markers and Gm and Km immunoglobulin allotypes. The aim was to define susceptibility factors for IDDM development other than HLA-DR using a number of techniques: lymphocytotoxicity (HLA-DR and DQ antigens), cellular methods (Dw and DP typing), restriction fragment length polymorphism (DQ alleles), electrophoresis and immunofixation (BF and C4 allotypes), and passive hemagglutination inhibition (Gm and Km immunoglobulin allotypes). The complement allotype C4A3 and the HLA-DQw8 (DQw3.2) antigen were found in all of the patients, whereas this was the case for only 8 of the 19 controls (P=6 x 10−6): five lacked C4A3, five others lacked DQw8, and one of the controls lacked both of these factors. Fourteen of the patients had the complement allotype C4B3 versus three of the controls (P=0.01). Previously reported family studies suggest that these alleles are part of the following haplotype: B15, BFS, C4A3, C4B3, DR4, Dw4, DQw8, and these factors were found together in ten of the patients versus one of the controls (P=0.01). The markers usually associated with DR3 did not show significant differences between IDDM patients and controls, and the non-HLA markers studied showed no significant deviation from what was expected. In addition to the susceptibility factor DQw8, the study suggests the existence of susceptibility genes for IDDM near the complement C4 genes on DR4-carrying haplotypes. Since recent works have shown that the structural gene for the monokine tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) is located between the HLA-B and C4 loci and that TNF-α might be of importance in IDDM pathogenesis, the hypothesis is put forward that the C4-associated IDDM susceptibility reflects linkage dis-equilibrium between the C4 gene and a gene controlling TNF-α production. The high relative risk for IDDM in HLA-DR3,4 heterozygotes might be explained by the combined action of IDDM-specific susceptibility genes on DR4 haplotypes and DR3-linked susceptibility genes associated with predisposition to autoimmunity.