HLA-G in human reproduction: aspects of genetics, function and pregnancy complications

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Abstract

The non-classical human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class Ib genes, HLA-E, -G and -F, are located on chromosome 6 in the human major histocompatibility complex (MHC). HLA class Ib antigens resemble the HLA class Ia antigens in many ways, but several major differences have been described. This review will, in particular, discuss HLA-G and its role in human reproduction and in the human MHC. HLA-G seems to be important in the modulation of the maternal immune system during pregnancy and thereby the maternal acceptance of the semiallogenic fetus. Recent findings regarding aspects of HLA-G polymorphism, the possible significance of this polymorphism in respect to HLA-G function and certain complications of pregnancy (such as pre-eclampsia and recurrent spontaneous abortions (RSA)) are discussed together with possible importance to IVF. Finally, aspects of a possible role of HLA-G in organ transplantation and in inflammatory or autoimmune disease, and of HLA-G in an evolutionary context, are also briefly examined.

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