Paediatric celiac patients carrying the HLA-DR7-DQ2 and HLA-DR3-DQ2 haplotypes display small clinical differences

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The aim of this study was to determine the relevance of HLA-DR7-DQ2 typing in a prospective cohort of paediatric coeliac disease patients from Southern Europe.


This cross-sectional study tested 249 paediatric patients with coeliac disease. HLA-DR3-DQ2 was typed in combination with HLA-DR7-DQ2 to screen for the HLA-DQ2 haplotype. The histological, analytical and clinical characteristics of the subjects were recorded.


A total of 91 coeliac patients were diagnosed: 96.7% carried HLA-DQ2 and 4.4% carried HLA-DQ8. In percentage terms, 80.2% of patients carried HLA-DR3-DQ2 and 34.1% carried HLA-DR7-DQ2. We did not find significant differences between HLA-DR7-DQ2 and HLA-DR3-DQ2 paediatric patients with respect to histological damage and clinical characteristics, except for irritability and weight loss. These characteristics were more frequent in HLA-DQ2trans than in HLA-DQ2cis (22.2% vs. 0.0% [p = 0.035] and 55.6% vs. 21.4% [p = 0.017], respectively). Coeliac-specific autoantibody levels were higher in HLA-DQ2cis than one half of HLA-DQ2trans patients (105.5 vs. 19.2 U/mL, p = 0.014).


Small clinical differences were found between paediatric coeliac patients carrying HLA-DR7-DQ2 and HLA-DR3-DQ2. For a correct screening of HLA-DQ2, at least in our geographical population, the HLA-DR7-DQ2 haplotype should be typed due to its frequency and clinical presentation.

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