The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) in man, termed HLA, is a highly polymorphic multigene system located on the short arm of chromosome 6 (Fig. 143–1). Most phenomena associated with the MHC are immunologic in nature, but it has also been associated with some that cannot readily be claimed by immunology (e.g., 21-hydroxylase deficiency). At least three classes of molecules are controlled by the MHC. Class I molecules, HLA-A, -B, and -C, are responsible for graft rejection and regulate the killing of virus-infected cells. Class II molecules, encoded by at least four loci, D, DR, DC, and SB, control communication between lymphoid cells. The HLA-A,B,C determinants are present on most nucleated tissues, whereas D-related antigens are found mainly on B lymphocytes and macrophages. Finally, class III molecules are components of the serum complement system, C2, C4A, C4B, and Bf; these proteins participate in cell lysis. The MHC loci are very closely linked (crossing over less than 1%).
KeywordsArthritis Hepatitis Carbohydrate Recombination Polypeptide
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