HFE mutations are associated with hereditary haemochromatosis. However, a simple method capable of demonstrating the cis/trans arrangement of alleles is lacking, and linkage disequilibrium between HFE alleles and classic HLA loci is unknown. These are important issues as the pathogenic role of the mutations is not known.Aims
To develop a simple method of genotyping HFE mutations suitable for clinical use in addition to large disease studies.Patients
A total of 330 Caucasoid cadaveric organ donor controls were examined. Ten individuals previously HLA-H genotyped by polymerase chain reaction using restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) were also examined to validate the method.Methods
A simple polymerase chain reaction using sequence specific primers (PCR-SSP) capable of haplotyping the mutations was developed. HFE allele and haplotype frequencies and linkage disequilibrium with eight HLA class I and II loci were examined in the control population.Results
27% and 19.7% of patients were positive for the 63D and 282Y alleles, respectively. No chromosome carried both 63D and 282Y. Linkage disequilibrium between 282Y and HLA-A*03 was confirmed, but was not straightforward: some A*03-associated alleles (DRB1*15, DQB1*06), but not all (B*07, Cw*0702), were associated with 282Y.Conclusions
Linkage disequilibrium data suggest that an HLA-B*07 containing haplotype contains an element affording protection from haemochromatosis and may suggest the timing of the founder 282Y mutation.