To investigate genetic factors involved in the pathogenesis of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT; goitrous autoimmune thyroiditis), HLA class I and class II antigens were analyzed in both seropositive HT (99 patients) and seronegative HT (43 patients). The frequency of HLA-DRw53 antigen was increased significantly in both seropositive HT (antigen frequency, 0.83; relative risk, 3.33; P < 0.0002; corrected P < 0.001) and seronegative HT (antigen frequency, 0.81; relative risk, 3.02; P < 0.01; corrected P < 0.05). The etiological fraction values for HLA-DRw53 in seropositive HT and seronegative HT were 0.58 and 0.54, respectively. An increased frequency of HLA-DQw4 and a decreased frequency of HLA-DQwl were observed in patients with seronegative HT. These data suggest that susceptibility to HT is primarily associated with HLA-DRw53 and that HLA-DQ alleles may control the production of autoantibodies to the thyroid gland. The mode of inheritance of disease susceptibility for HT (controlled by a major gene in linkage disequilibrium with HLA-DRw53) was investigated by the method of Thomson and Bodmer, and it was suggested that disease susceptibility was inherited in a dominant manner.
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