|Year : 2016 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 110-111
Human leukocyte antigen-associated diseases in Iraqi children: The ignored issue
Mahmood Dhahir Al-Mendalawi
Department of Paediatrics, Al-Kindy College of Medicine, Baghdad University, Baghdad, Iraq
|Date of Web Publication||19-Dec-2016|
Mahmood Dhahir Al-Mendalawi
P. O. Box 55302, Baghdad Post Office, Baghdad
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Al-Mendalawi MD. Human leukocyte antigen-associated diseases in Iraqi children: The ignored issue. Int J Adv Med Health Res 2016;3:110-1
The major histocompatibility complex occupies 4–6 megabases on the short arm of chromosome number 6. This region has effects on antigen-specific immune responses and transplantation rejection. The genes controlling these functions encode the human leukocyte antigens (HLA) which are highly polymorphic in human populations.
The main clinical relevance of HLA system is confined to organ transplantation. However, certain diseases, especially of autoimmune nature, are closely linked to particular HLA types. The exact mechanisms underlying HLA-disease association are not fully identified. Plausible mechanisms involve the occurrence of social stratification based on geography, language and religion, consequences of founder effect, racial admixture, or selection pressure due to environmental factors.
The polymorphisms of different HLA genes and haplotypes in different ethnic and geographic populations have made HLA typing an effective tool to screen the susceptibility of individuals to certain autoimmune diseases, cancer, and infectious diseases as well as to identify HLA-matched unrelated tissue transplantation donors.
The association of HLA alleles with different diseases has been extensively studied in different ethnic groups in Iraq, and some differences were found in HLA typing between Iraqi and non-Iraqi populations. The majority of the studies in Iraq on that issue have involved middle- and old-aged patients. Regrettably, only a few studies have included the pediatric population., I presume that the scarcity of studies on HLA-associated pediatric diseases might be attributed to the limited awareness of pediatricians on this issue as well as these studies are expensive, time-consuming, and only available in selected laboratories.
HLA-associated pediatric diseases, particularly in developing countries, are closely linked to significant morbidity and mortality as well as substantial health-care expenditure. I presume that genotyping a given HLA-associated pediatric disease requires certain prerequisites, namely substantial prevalence in the community, significant morbidity and mortality, and availability of specific therapeutic and preventive measures for that disease, as well as the presence of HLA-typing centers and adequate financial resources.
A call is sent to pediatricians and HLA typing researchers in developing countries, including Iraq, to collaboratively consider conducting HLA studies on diseases in children to build a national database that would be helpful in the prediction of disease susceptibility and resistance as well as evolutionary maintenance of genetic diversity, similar to that achieved in developed countries.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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