Histocompatibility testing was performed in 48 multiple sclerosis patients and two carefully matched control groups in Orkney Islands, an area of high multiple sclerosis prevalence. The frequency of HLA-A3, HLA-B7, and DW2 was comparable in patients and controls. However, HLA-B7 was significantly more common in female patients compared with male patients. A B-cell alloantigen (B-cell 4) was also as frequent in patients as among controls. Strong linkage between HLA-B7, DW2 and B-cell 4 occurred in controls, but not patients; the linkage was particularly striking in female controls. These data are not consistent with theories that relate certain of the histocompatibility antigens to the aetiology of multiple sclerosis.
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