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The evolving story of human leukocyte antigen and the immunogenetics of peanut allergy

Hemler, J.A., Phillips, E.J., Mallal, S.A. and Kendall, P.L. (2015) The evolving story of human leukocyte antigen and the immunogenetics of peanut allergy. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, 115 (6). pp. 471-476.

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Peanut allergy (PA) clearly has a heritable component. Specific genetic contributions are unknown, but human leukocyte antigen (HLA) loci are obvious candidates. This review focuses on emerging studies of HLA associations with PA.

Data Sources
PubMed was searched with no time limitations using key terms human leukocyte antigen, HLA, MHC, peanut, peanut hypersensitivity, and peanut allergy.
Study Selections
Qualifying studies were English-language reports of genetic analyses examining PA and HLA associations.

Seven relevant citations were identified, which were published from 1996 to 2015. Early studies using candidate gene approaches found associations between PA and HLA-DR and -DQ alleles (HLA-DRB1*08 and DQB1*06:03P) when comparing subjects with peanut allergy with nonallergic unrelated control groups. No significant associations were found between siblings with and without peanut allergy. However, a recent large genomewide association study of patients with peanut allergy and their family members found 2 PA-associated single-nucleotide polymorphisms (rs9275596 and rs7192) mapping to regions involving the HLA-DR and HLA-DQ genes. Associations with differential DNA methylation partly mediated the associations between PA and single-nucleotide polymorphisms.

Early studies using candidate gene approaches identified HLA associations with PA compared with the general population, suggesting a link with atopy but failing to identify a PA-specific association. These studies had various limitations that included small samples. The most compelling evidence for a PA-specific HLA association comes from a genomewide association study, which examined the entire genome in large, well-defined, related cohorts. More research is needed to validate and replicate these findings, to perform fine genetic mapping of specific HLA loci, and to demonstrate underlying mechanisms of HLA contributions to PA.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: Institute for Immunology and Infectious Diseases
Publisher: Elsevier Inc.
Copyright: © 2015 American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
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