Key words Multiple sclerosis
Human leukocyte antigens
Major histocompatibility complex
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
ABSTRACT The United Kingdom multiple sclerosis genome screen demonstrated a peak maximum lod score of 2.8 in the HLA region, together with statistically significant excess transmission of the 121-base pair (bp) allele of the tumour necrosis factor-a marker. In order to determine whether this association is independent of the established HLA association, or simply a consequence of the 121-bp allele being part of the same haplotype, we HLA-DR and -DQ typed the 227 sibling-pair families used in the original screen. The expected associations of multiple sclerosis with the DR15 (p=8.7E-18), DQ6 (p=2.0E-09) and DR51 (p=2.8E-16) phenotypes were confirmed, and excess transmission of the DRB1*1501 and DQB1*0602 alleles was demonstrated. Combining HLA typing with the original microsatellite data demonstrated extensive linkage disequilibrium between the 121-bp allele and the 1501-0602 haplotype. Outside this extended haplotype (121-1501-0602), none of the alleles demonstrated significant transmission distortion. Having established the importance of this extended haplotype, we reanalysed the entire genome screen data after excluding those sibling pairs sharing the extended haplotype (n=27). Conditioning the full genome screen data on the basis of identity by state sharing showed that some potential linkage regions identified in the original screen clustered in families, in which the extended haplotype was shared (1p, 2p and 17q), whereas others grouped with those in which it was not (5cen, 7p and Xq). This suggests complexity in the genetics of multiple sclerosis.
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