Genes of major histocompatibility complex are not only transplantation antigens

Published in: Čes. Revmatol., 20, 2012, No. 4, p. 175-180.
Category: Overview Reports


The region of the human major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is located on the chromosome 6 (6p21.3) and includes a section of DNA of about 3.6 x 106 nucleotides. This gene region is the most polymorphic one of the human genome. It significantly interferes with the regulation of the immune response, and also contributes to the enormous variability of the immune response. Genes of MHC class I and II are located in a relatively small distance from each other and therefore, on the example of the MHC gene complex, a phenomenon of linkage disequilibrium and creation of steady gene haplotypes can be observed. In addition to the major histocompatibility genes, minor histocompatibility genes are also localized at this site. They significantly affect the activity of the immune response as well. Findings from genetic studies of the MHC complex are currently being applied in the field of transplantology, in some cases of clinical diagnosis of autoimmune diseases and immunology in general. The aim of this article is to describe the issues of the MHC complex and its relationship with the immune response in general, to introduce its meaning for transplantology, as well as the association of its genes with an autoimmune process.

Key words:
MHC, autoimmunity, transplantation, genetic predisposition


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