Reproductive failure and the major histocompatibility complex

K. Jin, H. N. Ho, T. P. Speed, T. J. Gill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


The association between HLA sharing and recurrent spontaneous abortion (RSA) was tested in 123 couples and the association between HLA sharing, and the outcome of treatment for unexplained infertility by in vitro fertilization (IVF) was tested in 76 couples, by using a new shared-allele test in order to identify more precisely the region of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) influencing these reproductive defects. The shared-allele test circumvents the problem of rare alleles at HLA loci and at the same time provides a substantial gain in power over the simple χ2 test. Two statistical methods, a corrected homogeneity test and a bootstrap approach, were developed to compare the allele frequencies at each of the HLA-A, HLA-B, HLA-DR, and HLA-DQ loci; they were not statistically different among the three patient groups and the control group. There was a significant excess of HLA-DR sharing in couples with RSA and a significant excess of HLA- DQ sharing in couples with unexplained infertility who failed treatment by IVF. These findings indicate that genes located in different parts of the class II region of the MHC affect different aspects of reproduction and strongly suggest that the sharing of HLA antigens per se is not the mechanism involved in the reproductive defects. The segment of the MHC that has genes affecting reproduction also has genes associated with different autoimmune diseases, and this juxtaposition may explain the association between reproductive defects and autoimmune diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1456-1467
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Genetics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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