Volume 59, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


The DPA1 and DPB1 alleles of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II were determined in 110 patients and 120 healthy controls of a Gabonese population from an area endemic for Schistosoma haematobium infection. The MHC-DP alleles of the variable second exons and their human leukocyte antigen (HLA) epitopes were correlated with egg excretion, interleukin-4 and interferon-gamma patterns, and bladder abnormalities, as detected by ultrasonography. A methionine at position 11 of the DP alpha molecule (Met-11) and DPA1*0301 were associated with schistosomiasis when compared with controls (phenotypic gene frequencies = 0.791 versus 0.583 and 0.555 versus 0.375, respectively). Met-11 homozygosity occurred more often in patients, whereas healthy controls were more frequently homozygous for an alanine at position 11 (Ala-11). The combination of the DPB1-epitope DEAV (positions 84-87 of the DP beta molecule) and Met-11 positive DPA1 alleles was more frequent in patients than in controls (0.573 versus 0.316). Two years after antischistosomal treatment, the rate of reinfection as examined in 55 of the 110 former patients was higher in DPA1*0301-positive individuals than in those not possessing this allele (P < 0.001). Ala-11 positive individuals showed less frequently ultrasonographic signs of bladder pathology than Ala-11 negative individuals (P < 0.05). Our results suggest a role of MHC-DP elements in the manifestation of disease in S. haematobium infection.


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