Immunological capability is to a substantial extent genetically determined. Because genetic linkage exists between histocompatibility gene loci and certain immune response gene loci, histocompatibility specificities can serve as indicators for the presence of particular inherited immunological traits. In man, certain HLA antigens seem to be associated with immunogenetic traits which result in altered susceptibility to disease with known or suspected viral or autoimmune etiologies. We have found an association between HLA-A3 and "classic" cases of ALS. The A3 antigen was present in 49% of these cases, but not in the more chronic or benign form of the disease. Five out of six "benign" cases carried HLA-B12, suggesting perhaps the presence of a trait conferring resistance to the disease. Epidemiological surveys provide evidence both for and against a correlation between the incidence of ALS and that of HLA-A3 in various population groups. Because of the multiplicity of immune response genes, susceptibility or resistance to ALS in different populations may depend on different immune response genes. The association of a disease with selected HLA antigens or phenotypes might be suggestive of a viral-allergic etiology. Evidence that bears on this hypothesis has been reviewed.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||21|
|Journal||UCLA forum in medical sciences|
|State||Published - 1976|
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