Strong association of antiepithelial cell antibodies with HLA-DR3 or DR7 phenotype in patients with recurrent oral ulcers

A. Sun, R. P. Hsieh, B. Y. Liu, J. T. Wang, J. S. Leu, Y. C. Wu, C. P. Chiang

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Previous studies showed that antiepithelial cell antibodies (anti-ECA) were present in 71% (15/21) of patients with recurrent oral ulcers (ROU) and that there was a strong association of human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DRw9 with ROU in Chinese patients. In this study, we assessed anti-ECA in a larger group of Chinese patients with ROU (n = 88) in order to further investigate the association of anti-ECA with HLA-DR and -DQ antigens. Methods: The anti-ECA in the sera of ROU patients were detected by an indirect immunofluorescence technique with rat esophagus as the substrate, and the HLA-DR and -DQ antigens in ROU patients were typed by a standard microcytotoxicity assay using Terasaki's oriental tray. Results: The rate of anti-ECA positivity was significantly higher (p < 0.0001) in ROU patients (68%) than in healthy control subjects (0%). Furthermore, the rate of anti-ECA positivity in patients with major or minor oral ulcers (72%) was significantly higher (29%) than that in patients with herpetiform ulcers (p < 0.05). There was a significant increase in the frequency of DR3 or DR7 antigen expression (p < 0.0001, p(c) [p corrected] < 0.001, relative risk [RR] = 4.3, etiologic fraction = 0.41) in anti-ECA-positive ROU patients compared with the corresponding frequencies in healthy control subjects. There was also a significant increase in the frequency of DR7 or DRw9 antigen expression (p < 0.005, p(c) < 0.05, RR = 4.7, etiologic fraction = 0.45) compared to healthy controls. Conclusions: Because only DR3 or DR7 antigen occurred more frequently in anti-ECA-positive than in anti-ECA-negative ROU patients (p < 0.0007, p(c) < 0.05, RR = 19.6, etiologic fraction = 0.51), we concluded that the gene coding for DR3 or DR7 antigen may contribute to the presence of anti-ECA in Chinese patients with ROU.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-294
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Formosan Medical Association
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Sept 4 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Antiepithelial cell antibodies
  • Chinese
  • HLA-DQ antigens
  • HLA-DR antigens
  • Recurrent oral ulcers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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