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January 1991

HLA-D Locus Associations in Alopecia Areata: DRw52a May Confer Disease Resistance

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Dermatology (Drs Duvic and Young and Ms O'Brien) and Internal Medicine (Drs Duvic and Reveille), the Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunogenetics, University of Texas Medical School at Houston; the Department of Dermatology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis (Dr Hordinsky); and the Bronson Clinical Investigation Unit, The Upjohn Company, Kalamazoo, Mich, and the Department of Dermatology, The University of Illinois, Chicago (Dr Fiedler).

Arch Dermatol. 1991;127(1):64-68. doi:10.1001/archderm.1991.01680010074011

• Because predisposition to autoimmunity has been associated with HLA-D alleles and alopecia areata is hypothesized to be a T-cell mediated autoimmune hair loss, we determined DR and DQ alleles in 88 white and 10 American black patients with alopecia areata as well as controls with the use of restriction fragment length polymorphism typing with cDNA probes. White patients with alopecia areata have an increase in the phenotype frequencies of DR4 and DQw8 and an increase in genotype frequencies of DR4 and DR5 (now DRw11[5]). These associations are in agreement with those reported in two other studies but are not significant when corrected by the number of HLA antigens tested. Sixty-one percent of all patients with AA have DR4 and/or DRw11(5) specificities vs 40% of controls, with more DR4,DRw11(5) and DQw7(w3), DQw8(w3) heterozygotes among patients. DQw6(w1) phenotype frequencies and DRw52a phenotype and genotype frequencies are significantly decreased in patients with alopecia areata relative to controls. This highly significant negative association with the HLA DRB3 allele DRw52a in whites persisted even when DR4- or DRw11(5)-positive individuals were excluded from the patient and control groups. These data suggest that HLA-DR4 and DRw11(5) with their associated DQw7(w3) and DQw8(w3) specificities may confer susceptibility to alopecia areata, while DRw52a may confer resistance.

(Arch Dermatol. 1991;127:64-68)

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