Dermatitis herpetiformis in two American blacks: HLA type and clinical characteristics.
Dermatitis herpetiformis is a rare blistering skin disease characterized in part by granular IgA deposits at the dermoepidermal junction, an associated gluten-sensitive enteropathy, and a strong association with the human histocompatibility leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A1 (74% of patients with dermatitis herpetiformis), -B8 (88%), -DR3 (95%), and -DQw2 (100%). Dermatitis herpetiformis is rarely seen in American blacks and some investigators have postulated that this finding may be due to the decreased frequency of HLA-A1 and -B8 in American blacks compared with Caucasians (American blacks: HLA-A1 = 15.3%, HLA-B8 = 10.7%; Caucasian: HLA-A1 = 26.4%, HLA-B8 = 18.3%). This report describes two American blacks with dermatitis herpetiformis and reports the results of HLA typing of these subjects for HLA-A, -B, -C, -DR, and -DQ antigens. HLA typing revealed that neither patient expressed HLA-A1 or -B8; however, both patients did express the class II antigens most frequently seen in dermatitis herpetiformis, HLA-DR3 and -DQw2. Comparison of HLA class II antigen frequency in normal American blacks and Caucasians reveals a similar frequency of HLA-DR3 and -DQw2 (American blacks: HLA-DR3 = 27.6%, HLA-DQw2 = 40.9%; Caucasian: HLA-DR3 = 22.6%, HLA-DQw2 = 32.9%). These data confirm the importance of the HLA class II region in the pathogenesis of dermatitis herpetiformis. In addition, these data suggest that the rare occurrence of dermatitis herpetiformis in American blacks is not due to the decreased frequency of the HLA class I antigens -A1 and/or -B8 but rather is related to differences in the HLA class II region not detected by routine HLA typing.
Hall, RP; Clark, RE; Ward, FE
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