We have studied major histocompatibility complex markers in randomly ascertained Caucasian patients with gluten-sensitive enteropathy and their families. The frequencies of extended haplotypes, defined as haplotypes of specific HLA-B, DR, BF, C2, C4A, and C4B allelic combinations, occurring more frequently than expected, were compared on patient chromosomes, on normal chromosomes from the study families, and on chromosomes from normal families. Over half of patient chromosomes consisted almost entirely of two extended haplotypes [HLA-B8, DR3, SC01] and [HLA-B44, DR7, FC31] which, with nonextended HLA-DR7, accounted for the previously observed HLA markers of this disease: HLA-B8, DR3, and DR7. There was no increase in HLA-DR3 on nonextended haplotypes or in other extended haplotypes with HLA-DR3 or DR7. The distribution of homozygotes and heterozygotes for HLA-DR3 and DR7 was consistent with recessive inheritance of the major histocompatibility complex-linked susceptibility gene for gluten-sensitive enteropathy. On the other hand, by odds ratio analysis and from the sum of DR3 and DR7 homozygotes compared with DR3/DR7 heterozygotes, there was an increase in heterozygotes and a decrease in homozygotes suggesting the presence of modifying phenomena.
C A Alper, E Fleischnick, Z Awdeh, A J Katz, E J Yunis