Open Access Open Badges Research article

Evidence for association between the HLA-DQA locus and abdominal aortic aneurysms in the Belgian population: a case control study

Toru Ogata1, Lucie Gregoire2, Katrina AB Goddard3, Magdalena Skunca1, Gerard Tromp1, Wayne D Lancaster14, Antonio R Parrado3, Qing Lu3, Hidenori Shibamura1, Natzi Sakalihasan5, Raymond Limet5, Gerald L MacKean6, Claudette Arthur6, Taijiro Sueda7 and Helena Kuivaniemi18*

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan, USA

2 Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan, USA

3 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

4 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan, USA

5 Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium

6 Department of Surgery, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada

7 Department of Surgery, Graduate School of Biomedical Science, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, Japan

8 Department of Surgery, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Medical Genetics 2006, 7:67  doi:10.1186/1471-2350-7-67

Published: 31 July 2006



Chronic inflammation and autoimmunity likely contribute to the pathogenesis of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs). The aim of this study was to investigate the role of autoimmunity in the etiology of AAAs using a genetic association study approach with HLA polymorphisms.


HLA-DQA1, -DQB1, -DRB1 and -DRB3-5 alleles were determined in 387 AAA cases (180 Belgian and 207 Canadian) and 426 controls (269 Belgian and 157 Canadian) by a PCR and single-strand oligonucleotide probe hybridization assay.


We observed a potential association with the HLA-DQA1 locus among Belgian males (empirical p = 0.027, asymptotic p = 0.071). Specifically, there was a significant difference in the HLA-DQA1*0102 allele frequencies between AAA cases (67/322 alleles, 20.8%) and controls (44/356 alleles, 12.4%) in Belgian males (empirical p = 0.019, asymptotic p = 0.003). In haplotype analyses, marginally significant association was found between AAA and haplotype HLA-DQA1-DRB1 (p = 0.049 with global score statistics and p = 0.002 with haplotype-specific score statistics).


This study showed potential evidence that the HLA-DQA1 locus harbors a genetic risk factor for AAAs suggesting that autoimmunity plays a role in the pathogenesis of AAAs.