Background: The prevalence of multiple sclerosis is associated with the major histocompatibility complex class II DR15 haplotype HLA-DRB1*15:01∼HLA-DRB5*01:01.
Objective: To assess whether multiple sclerosis progression is associated with the main susceptibility haplotype HLA-DRB1*15:01∼HLA-DRB5*01:01.
Methods: Patients (n = 1230) and healthy controls (n = 2110) were genotyped for HLA-DRB1 and HLA-DRB5. The baseline Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score was determined and patients were followed for at least 3 years.
Results: After follow-up of the consecutive cohort 349 patients were classified as having clinical isolated syndrome and 881 patients as having multiple sclerosis. The susceptibility allele HLA-DRB1*15:01 was more frequent in clinical isolated syndrome (odds ratio 1.56) and multiple sclerosis (odds ratio 3.17) compared to controls. HLA- DRB1*15:01 was the only enriched HLA-DRB1 allele in multiple sclerosis patients. Comparison of clinical characteristics between HLA-DRB1*15:01∼HLA-DRB5*01:01 negative and positive patients with multiple sclerosis showed that baseline EDSS score, disease duration and frequency of the category secondary progressive multiple sclerosis with relapse were increased in the HLA-DRB1*15:01∼HLA-DRB5*01:01 positive group.
Conclusion: The study confirmed HLA-DRB1*15:01 and HLA-DRB5*01:01 as the main susceptibility alleles and showed weak indirect evidence for a role in progression of the disease.