Journal of Human Reproductive Science
Home Ahead of Print Current Issue Archives
   Bookmark this page Print this page Email this page Small font sizeDefault font size Increase font size    Users online: 686

ORIGINAL ARTICLE Table of Contents   
Year : 2008  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 19-24

HLA allele associations in idiopathic recurrent spontaneous abortion patients from India

1 HLA Department, Institute of Immunohaematology, 13th Floor, KEM Hospital, Parel, Mumbai, India
2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KEM Hospital, Parel, Mumbai - 400 012, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission09-Aug-2007
Date of Decision25-Jan-2008
Date of Acceptance31-Jan-2008
Date of Web Publication24-Mar-2008

Correspondence Address:
U Shankarkumar
13th Floor, KEM Hospital, Parel Mumbai - 400 012
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-1208.39592

Rights and Permissions



Background : Rejection of semiallogenic foetus in recurrent spontaneous abortion (RSA) has been postulated to be a consequence of genetic and immunological phenomena. Aim: To evaluate the role of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles in RSA in Indian couples. Settings and Design : A case-control study. Materials and Methods : Eighty-one randomly selected couples with unexplained three or more RSAs and a control group of 97 couples with live birth belonging to the same ethnic background, referred to the Gynaecology Department, KEM Hospital were included in the case-control study. Serological HLA A and B typing was done followed by molecular subtypes, defined using PCR-SSOP technique for HLA A, B, and C in 40 couples and DRB1* and DQB1* in 28 couples which were then compared with appropriate case 46 and 88 controls. Results : Serologically A3 (15.43% vs . 4.43%; odds ratio (OR) = 4.34; P = 0.0002) and B17 (25.3% vs . 11.34%; OR = 3.49; P = 0.0001) were increased. Haplotype A1-B17 was significantly increased. Molecular subtyping revealed that A*030102 (11.25% vs . 4.34%; OR = 3.00; P = 0.07), B*5701 (11.25% vs . 1.08%; OR = 13.10; P = 0.003), Cw*120201 (25% vs . 4.34%; OR = 10.50; P = 2.05E-05), HLA DRB1*030101 (17.85% vs . 3.40%; OR = 7.6; P = 0.0001), DRB1*150101 (32.14% vs . 13.63%; OR = 4.8; P = 0.0003), and DQB1*060101 (35.71% vs . 29.34%; OR = 2.3; P = 0.004) were significantly increased in patients. A differential association was noticed when compared with reported world RSA patients. Conclusion: The HLA alleles A*030101, B*5701, Cw*120201, DRB1*030101, and DRB1*150101 as well as their associated ancestral haplotype may play a significant role in development of RSA in India.

Keywords: CwFNx01120201, DQB1FNx01050301 association, HLA BFNx015701, India, RSA

How to cite this article:
Shankarkumar U, Pawar A, Gaonkar P, Parasannavar D, Salvi V, Ghosh K. HLA allele associations in idiopathic recurrent spontaneous abortion patients from India. J Hum Reprod Sci 2008;1:19-24

How to cite this URL:
Shankarkumar U, Pawar A, Gaonkar P, Parasannavar D, Salvi V, Ghosh K. HLA allele associations in idiopathic recurrent spontaneous abortion patients from India. J Hum Reprod Sci [serial online] 2008 [cited 2023 Mar 29];1:19-24. Available from:

Recurrent spontaneous abortion (RSA) is defined as a sequence of three or more consecutive spontaneous abortion. RSA is a heterogeneous condition, which may have many possible causes; more than one contributory factor is suggested to underlie the recurrent pregnancy losses. The major causes are attributed to genetic, endocrinological, or immunological. In the immunological cause, it may be autoimmunity or alloimmunity. In autoimmune, a woman may develop antiphospholipid antibodies, antithyroid antibodies, antinuclear antibodies, and antineutrophilic cytoplasmic antibodies. Alloimmune cases of RSA show involvement of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) and blood group antigens. The literature review reveals association of HLA alleles with RSA in various populations. [1],[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10],[11],[12],[13] Strong association of HLA DR alleles have been shown with RSA. [4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9]

Numbers of studies indicate that there is a high sharing of HLA antigens in couples with RSA. In 1977, Komlos and his associates demonstrated the HLA allele sharing hypothesis concerning RSA. [14] Several studies have confirmed HLA antigens sharing between spouses in RSA. [12],[13],[15] Further meta-analysis of selected case-control studies suggested a slightly increased and significant risk of RSA among couples who shared at least one allele in HLA DR locus. [15] Other studies have also found nonsharing of HLA antigens. [16],[17] In India, few studies have been conducted on HLA sharing, antipaternal cytotoixic antibodies, anticardiolipin antibodies, and lupus anticoagulant in RSA patients. [18],[19] Studies from 120 Indian RSA women for nonclassical HLA G and HLA E associations have revealed that E*0101 and G*010103 were significantly associated for the first time. [20],[21] Further, the role of 14 bp deletion in the HLA G gene toward the maintenance of pregnancy has shown no frequency difference among controls and RSA patients. [22]

Unexplained RSAs has many etiologies, many of them have immune dysfunctions which include the presence of cytotoxic antibodies, absence of maternal blocking antibodies, sharing of HLA antigens, and disturbances of killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor dysfunction. The roles of Immunological and genetic characters have been implicated in RSA. Very little information from less frequent studies has been obtained in India. Therefore, the present study was conducted to evaluate the role of HLA in RSA.

   Materials and Methods Top

A total of 81 couples with three or more RSAs and control group of 97 couples who had one or more children referred to the Gynaecology Department of KEM Hospital were included in the study. The RSA patients and the controls were in their reproductive age varying from 20 to 40 years. All the 81 couples were negative for conventional causes like hypertension, diabetes, infections due to toxoplasma, rubella, etc., hormonal dysfunction, thrombophilic risk factors, cytogenetics, autoimmune, and anatomical abnormalities. HLA serological typing and anti-HLA antibodies were done following the standard two-stage NIH microlymphocytotoxicity assay. In short from each individual peripheral blood was collected in heparin anticoagulant and the lymphocytes were separated on histopaque by density gradient centrifugation and the HLA A and B alleles were identified using specific HLA antisera of commercial and indigenous origin. Each specificity was defined by using three sera with good coefficient of correlation " r" value. The anti-HLA antibodies were investigated against the husband's lymphocytes. Further, molecular characterization of the HLA alleles were done by PCR-SSOP technique in 40 patients for HLA A, B, and C loci, in 28 patients for DRB1 and DQB1 loci which were then compared with appropriate 46 and 88 controls. The HLA antigen association between patients and normal controls were evaluated for allele frequency estimate, haplotype analysis, etiologic fraction, preventive fraction χ2 -test, P -value, and odds ratio as described earlier. [23]

   Results Top

Our analysis revealed that HLA A1, A3, and B17 were significantly increased while A9 decreased among the RSA patients from western India [Table - 1]. Among the results of the 40 RSA patients characterized for their molecular A, B, and Cw subtypes compared with the normal controls. It was interesting to note that A*030101, B*5701, and Cw*120201 subtypes were significantly increased [Table - 2]. Further, HLA DRB1 and DQB1 molecular typing among 28 RSA patients revealed that DRB1*030101, DRB1*150101, and DQB1*060101 were significantly increased while DRB1*010101, DRB1*110101, and DRB1*100101 were decreased among the RSA patients [Table - 3]. Our comparative analysis from different world RSA patients revealed that our patients had differential association [Table - 4]. Haplotype sharing has been significantly observed among 72 out of the 81 RSA couples (88.00%). Two locus haplotype analyses reveal that haplotype A1-B17 is significantly increased as well as haplotypes A10-B8, A3-B7, and A9-B35 were observed among RSA couples [Table - 5]. The anti-HLA antibodies were found to be positive in 14.7% of the RSA women.

   Discussion Top

The significant observations of the present study are (1) HLA A*030102, B*5701, Cw*12021, DRB1*030101, DRB1*150101, and DQB1*060101 are associated among the western Indian RSA women, (2) HLA A*240201, B*4006, Cw*15021, and DRB1*110101 are significantly reduced among the RSA women, and (3) ancestral Haplotype A1-B17 is significantly increased among the RSA women.

A comparative analysis of HLA in RSA patients reported from the world revealed a differential association among our patients. Earlier we had reported HLA A3 association in RhD immunised women from western India. [24] HLA B17 has been reported to be associated in Italian RSA patients. [11] HLA B17 has also been implicated in South Indian psoriasis patients. [25] Recently, haplotype A1-B17 has been reported to be involved in antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) production from western Indian population. [26] A significant reduced frequency of HLA B35 has been described in Japanese RSA patients. [12] Among Roman RSA couples, significant differences in HLA A2, B18, and B40 have been reported. [13] Increased frequencies of Cw5, Cw6, and DR2 in Italian RSA patients have been reported. [1] Further among the UK RSA patient population linkage disequilibrium between A2 and B12 has been reported. [2] Various studies on HLA DR and DP loci have shown associations with RSA in Italian, [10] Danish, [6],[9] and Japanese [5],[7],[8] populations. Recently, HLA DRB1*1502 has been reported to be significantly associated in Japanese RSA patients. [4] The reports on antigen sharing in couples with recurrent miscarriage led to several studies assessing the role of HLA antigens and their influence on the outcome of pregnancy. [27] In fact, couples sharing at HLA A, HLA B, HLA C, HLA DR, and HLA DQ loci has been reported to be positively associated with the risk of RSA. [28] Since 1977, increased HLA sharing among spouses has been associated with RSAs; later more specific HLA DR and/or DQ antigens were suggested. HLA sharing has also been reported in couples that fail to achieve pregnancy with multiple cycles of assisted reproductive techniques. Studies examining the association of HLA sharing with a risk of RSA have yielded inconsistent results, in terms of whether or not couple sharing is significantly related to the outcome and which particular HLA gene may be responsible. Meta-analysis of selected case-control studies suggested a significant risk of RSA among couples who shared at least one allele at the HLA-DR locus, but not at the other HLA loci. [14] The discrepant results in the HLA and RSA studies were attributed to inconsistent definitions of recurrent miscarriage and of the control groups, the small number of samples, and the different tissue typing methods used to investigate the HLA loci. Therefore, we had done serology initially and then molecular characterization for the allele subtypes in this case-control study to define all the HLA loci.

Due to variation in immunization and the resultant outcome, a wide variation in the incidence of anti-HLA antibodies in the sera of pregnant women has been reported in the literature. The values ranged from 7.3 to 36%. [24] It has been reported earlier that 27.8% of RSA women had anti-HLA antibodies from northern India. [18] In our study, we have found an incidence of 14.7% anti-HLA antibodies, which suggests that the blocking factors as well as immunity toward the husband's lymphocytes could be different among western Indian RSA couples.

Recently, the involvement of killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) in abortion with specific HLA molecules on trophoblast (HLA C, G, and E) may influence the outcome of pregnancy has been suggested. [29] Studies conducted in reproductive immunology component of the 14th International Histocompatibility Workshop has suggested that women with alloimmune abortions or implantation failures may possess a rather uncommon KIR repertoire characterized by increased presence of activating receptors and may have a higher potential decidual natural killer (NK) cell activation, thus increased risk for an adverse reproductive outcome. [30] It could be possible that HLA Cw*12021, the associated allele along with its associated ancestral haplotypes A3-B17-CwBk-DR3 in India could have an immunopathological role via the HLA C-KIR related activation which leads to an adverse reproductive outcome. This remains to be still elucidated though we have proved that ancestral haplotype A1-B17-Cw6-DR7 has been associated with ANCA production in renal-associated vasculitis from India. Further we have provided evidence of Cw*1507 allele to be strongly associated in HIV-1 infected Indian patients (personnel communication). Future studies involving these parameters along with the other immunological evaluations are necessary to substantiate the immunological basis of rejection in RSA.

   References Top

1.Sciorelli G, Bontempelli M, Carella G, Cenzuales S, Faden D, Fedele L, et al . HLA sharing in Italian recurrent abortion couples. Acta Eur Fertil 1988;19:257-61.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Johnson PM, Chia KV, Risk JM, Barnes RM, Woodrow JC. Immunological and immunogenetic investigation of recurrent spontaneous abortion. Dis Markers 1988;6:167-71.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Gerencer M, Kastelan A, Drazanic A, Kerhin-Brkljacic V, Madjaric M. HLA antigens in women with recurrent abnormal pregnancies of unknown aetiology. Tissue Antigens 1978;12:223-7.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Takakuwa K, Adachi H, Hataya, Ishik, Tamura M, Tanaka K. Molecular genetic studies of HLA -DRB1 allele in patents with unexplained recurrent abortion in the Japanese population. Hum Reprod 2003;18:728-33.  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Takakuwa K, Hataya M, Arakawa M, Kikuchi A, Higashino M, Yasuda M, et al . Possible susceptibility of the HLA-DPB1*0402 and HLA-DPB1*04 alleles to unexplained recurrent abortion: analysis by means of polymerase chain reaction-restricted fragment length polymorphism method. Am J Reprod Immunol 1999;42:233-9.  Back to cited text no. 5    
6.Christiansen OB, Vlcova-Gallova Z, Mohapeloa H, Krauz V. Studies on associations between Human Leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II alleles and antiphospholipid antibodies in Daniish and Czech women with recurrent miscarriages. Hum Reprod 1998;13:3326-31.  Back to cited text no. 6    
7.Hataya I, Takakuwa K, Tanaka K. Human leukocyte antigen class II genotype in patients with recurrent foetal miscarriage who are positive for anticardiolipin antibody. Ferti Steril 1998;70:919-23.  Back to cited text no. 7    
8.Saski T, Yamada H, Kato EH, Sudo S, Kishida T, Nishigaki F, et al . Increased frequency of HLA-DR4 allele in women with unexplained recurrent spontaneous abortions, detected by the method of PCR-SSP. J Reprod Immunol 1997;32:273-9.  Back to cited text no. 8    
9.Christiansen OB, Pedersen B, Mathiesen O, Husth M, Grunnet N. Maternal HLA class II alleles predispose to pregnancy losses in Danish women with recurrent spontaneous abortion and their female relatives. Am J Reprod Immunol 1996;35:239-44.  Back to cited text no. 9    
10.Sbracia M, Mastrone M, Scarpellini F, Grasso JA. Influence of histocompatibity antigens in recurrent spontaneous abortion couples and on their reproductive performances. Am J Reprod Immunol 1997;37:213-4.  Back to cited text no. 10    
11.Vanoli M, Fabio G, Bonara P, Eisera N, Pardi G, Acaia B, et al . Histocompatibility in Italian couples with recurrent spontaneous abortions of unknown origin and with normal fertility. Tissue Antigens 1985;26:227-33.  Back to cited text no. 11    
12.Imai T, Takakuwa K, Ishil K, Adachi H, Higashino M, Kurata H, et al . HLA-class I antigens in patients with unexplained recurrent abortion. J Perinat Med 2001;29:427-32.  Back to cited text no. 12    
13.Vojvodic S, Belic B. The HLA antigen system in married couples with recurrent spontaneous abortion. Med Pregl 2001;54:75-9.  Back to cited text no. 13    
14.Komlos L, Zamir R, Joshuah H, Halbrecht I. HLA antigens in couples with repeated miscarriages. Clin Immunol Immunopathol 1977;7:330-5.  Back to cited text no. 14    
15.Beydoun H, Saftlas AF. Association of human leukocyte antigen sharing with recurrent spontaneous abortions. Tissue Antigens 2005;65:123-35.  Back to cited text no. 15    
16.Caudle MR, Rote NS, Scott JR, De Witte C, Barney MF. Histocompatibility complex antigens, maternal and paternal immune responses and chronic habitual miscarriage. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1985;141:987-99.  Back to cited text no. 16    
17.Jaitinen T, Koskimies S, Westman P. Foeto-maternal compatibility in HLA-DR, DQ and DP loci in Finnish couples suffering from recurrent spontaneous abortions. Eur J Immunogenet 1993;20:249-58.  Back to cited text no. 17    
18.Kishore R, Agarwal S, Halder A, Das V, Shukla BR, Agarwal SS. HLA sharing, anti-Paternal cytotoxic antibodies and MLR blocking factors in women with recurrent spontraneous abortion. J Obstet Gynecol Res 1996;22:177-83.  Back to cited text no. 18    
19.Kumar KS, Jyothy A, Prakash MS, Rani HS, Reddy PP. Beta 2-glycoprotein I dependent anticardiolipin antibodies and lupus anticoagulant in patients with recurrent pregnancy loss. J Postgrad Med 2002;48:5-10.  Back to cited text no. 19  [PUBMED]  Medknow Journal
20.Abbas A, Tripathi P, Naik S, Agrawal S. Analysis of HLA-G polymorphism in normal women and women with recurrent spontaneous abortion. Eur J Immunogenet 2004;31:275-8.  Back to cited text no. 20    
21.Tripathi P, Naik S, Agrawal S. HLA -E and immunobiology of pregnancy. Tissue Antigens 2006;67:207-13.  Back to cited text no. 21    
22.Tripathi P, Abbas A, Naik S, Agrawal S. Role of 14-bp deletion in the HLA G gene in the maintenance of pregnancy. Tissue Antigens 2004:64:706-10.  Back to cited text no. 22    
23.Shankarkumar U, Devarj JP, Ghosh K, Mohanty D. Seronegative spondarthritis and human leukocyte antigen association. Br J Biomed Sci 2002;59:38-41.  Back to cited text no. 23    
24.Shankarkumar U, Ghosh K, Gupte SS, Gupte SC, Mohanty D. Role of HLA antigens in Rh (D) alloimmunised pregnant women from Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. J Biosci 2001;27:135-41.  Back to cited text no. 24    
25.Pitchappan RM, Koteeswaran A, Kakkaniah VN, Manickasundari M, Rajaram V, Muthuveeralakshmi P, et al . HLA Bw57 and DR7 association with psoriasis vulgaris in south India. Tissue Antigens 1989;34:133-7.  Back to cited text no. 25    
26.Shankarkumar U, Ghosh K, Pradhan VD, Badakare SS, Mohanty D. Immunogenetic association in patient with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) from Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. Autoimmun 2005;24:227-33.  Back to cited text no. 26    
27.Beer AE, Quebbman JF, Ayers JW, Haines RF. Major histocompatibility complex antigens, maternal and paternal immune responses and chronic habitual miscarriage. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1981;141:987-99.  Back to cited text no. 27    
28.Ober C, Hyslop T, Elias S, Weitkamp LR, Hauck WW. Human Leukocyte antigen matching and foetal loss: Results of a 10-year prospective study. Hum Reprod 1998:13:33-8.  Back to cited text no. 28    
29.Varla-Leftherioti M, Spyropoulou-Vlachou M, Niokou D, Keramitsoglou T, Darlamitsou A, Tsekoura C, et al . Natural Killer (NK) cell receptors repertoire in couples with recurrent spontaneous abortions. Am J Reprod Immunol 2003:49:183-91.  Back to cited text no. 29    
30.Varla-Leftherioti M, Keramitsoglou T, Spyropoulou-Vlachou M, Papadimitropoulos M, Kontopoulou-Antonopoulou V, Tsekoura C, et al . Report from the Reproductive immunology Component of the 14th International Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics Workshop Tissue Antigens 2007:69:297-303.  Back to cited text no. 30    


  [Table - 1], [Table - 2], [Table - 3], [Table - 4], [Table - 5]

This article has been cited by
1 Risk control of host cell proteins in one therapeutic antibody produced by concentrated fed-batch (CFB) mode
Yiling Lu, Jun Lin, Tianze Bian, Jin Chen, Dan Liu, Mingjun Ma, Zhen Gao, Jiemin Chen, Dianwen Ju, Xing Wang
Engineering in Life Sciences. 2023; : 2200060
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Human Leukocyte Antigen Alleles Compatibility and Immunophenotypic Profile Associations in Infertile Couples
Georgia Oikonomou, Nikolaos Vlachadis, Vassilios Tsamadias, Irene Lambrinoudaki, Efthymios Deligeoroglou, Nikolaos F Vlahos, Emmanuel Economou
Cureus. 2023;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
3 Prevalence of HLA-B*57:01 allele in HIV-positive and HIV-negative population of eastern India: An epidemiological study
Abhilasha Gautam, Jaya Chakravarty, Ankita Chourasia, Saurabh Sharma, Tanmoy Sarkar, Parimal Das
Clinical Epidemiology and Global Health. 2022; : 101181
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
4 Association between rs1049174 NKG2D gene polymorphism and idiopathic recurrent spontaneous abortion in Iranian women: a case-control study
Amir Abdian Asl, Fereshteh Vaziri Nezamdoust, Farzaneh Fesahat, Akram Astani, Meisam Barati, Pourya Raee, Abolghasem Asadi-Saghandi
Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2021; 41(5): 774
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
5 Maternal killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptors and paternal human leukocyte antigen ligands in recurrent pregnancy loss cases in Turkey
Mehmet Onur Elbasi, Aysin Tulunay, Hale Karagözoglu, Semra Kahraman, Emel Eksioglu-Demiralp
Clinical and Experimental Reproductive Medicine. 2020; 47(2): 122
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
6 Genomic answers for recurrent spontaneous abortion in Saudi Arabia: An array comparative genomic hybridization approach
Sajjad Karim, Hasan Salleh Jamal, Abdullraheem Rouzi, Mohammed Salleh M. Ardawi, Hans-Juergen Schulten, Zeenat Mirza, Nuha A. Alansari, Maha M. Al-Quaiti, Heba Abusamra, Muhammad Imran Naseer, Rola Turki, Adeel Gulzar Chaudhary, Mamdooh Gari, Adel Mohammed Abuzenadah, Mohammed Hussain Al-Qhatani
Reproductive Biology. 2017; 17(2): 133
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
7 HLA sharing among couples appears unrelated to idiopathic recurrent fetal loss in Saudi Arabia
J. S. Moghraby, H. Tamim, V. Anacan, H. Al Khalaf, S. A. Moghraby
Human Reproduction. 2010; 25(8): 1900
[VIEW] | [DOI]


Print this article  Email this article


    Similar in PUBMED
    Search Pubmed for
    Search in Google Scholar for
  Related articles
    Article in PDF (137 KB)
    Citation Manager
    Access Statistics
    Reader Comments
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

    Materials and Me...
    Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded493    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 7    

Recommend this journal