Association between the DRB1*08032 histocompatibility antigen and methimazole-induced agranulocytosis in Japanese patients with Graves disease

Hajime Tamai, Tohru Sudo, Akinori Kimura, Toshio Mukuta, Sunao Matsubayashi, Kanji Kuma, Shigenobu Nagataki, Takehiko Sasazuki

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Objective: To determine the association between HLA class II genes and methimazole-induced agranulocytosis in patients with Graves disease. Design: Case-control study. Setting: Kuma Hospital, which specializes in thyroid diseases, in Kobe, Japan. Subjects: 24 patients with Graves disease who had methimazole-induced agranulocytosis diagnosed by peripheral granulocyte counts of less than 0.5 x 109/L, and 68 patients with Graves disease treated with methimazole, who were free from agranulocytosis. Controls were 525 healthy, unrelated Japanese student volunteers at Kyushu University in Japan. Measurements: All HLA class II genes were analyzed for polymorphisms at the DNA level by using the polymerase chain reaction sequence-specific oligonucleotide probes method. The allele frequencies in the agranulocytotic Graves disease group were compared with those in the nonagranulocytotic Graves disease and control groups. Results: A strong positive association was seen in DRB1*08032 between the agranulocytotic group and both the control and nonagranulocytotic Graves disease groups. Conclusion: The HLA DRB1*08032 allele was strongly associated with susceptibility to methimazole-induced agranulocytosis, suggesting that cellular autoimmunity may be involved in its development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-494
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Internal Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 1996


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine

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