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Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) compatibility has been reported to facilitate the long-term tolerance of fetal or maternally derived stem cells exchanged during pregnancy. Furthermore, such compatibility has been suggested to play a role in fetal viability. An increase in maternal - fetal human leukocyte antigen (HLA) compatibility for class II DR alleles has previously been observed in the autoimmune disease scleroderma. Here, we examined the hypothesis that increased maternal - fetal MHC class II DR compatibility was associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) risk. HLA-DRB1 typing was performed in 2170 affected individuals and 2894 unaffected relatives from 1006 families with MS in at least two members. We found no evidence for increased HLA compatibility between affected individuals and their mothers, compared with unaffected individuals and their mothers, nor compared with affected individuals and their fathers. We also observed no excess of homozygosity of mothers compared with fathers of individuals with MS. In families in which the father shared exactly one allele with the mother, we found no excess in transmission of this allele to affected or unaffected offspring. These findings do not support a role for an excess maternal - fetal HLA-DRB1 compatibility in MS susceptibility.

Original publication




Journal article


Tissue Antigens

Publication Date





44 - 47


Alleles, Family Health, Female, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Genotype, HLA-DR Antigens, HLA-DRB1 Chains, Homozygote, Humans, Male, Mothers, Multiple Sclerosis, Scleroderma, Systemic, Stem Cells