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The TNF region within the MHC includes a number of immunologically important genes. Microsatellites TNFa and TNFb adjacent to TNF exhibit extensive polymorphism. Employing a PCR-based technique, we identified TNFab haplotypes and defined their distribution in 97 controls and 48 diabetics of Caucasoid origin in a search for other genes within the MHC potentially associated with IDDM. Twenty-five different TNFab haplotypes were identified. A significant difference (p < 0.0005) in frequency between patients and controls was found for TNFa1b5 (relative risk 53). However, no other TNFab microsatellites demonstrated significantly different frequencies. Among diabetics TNFa1b5 was found to be in linkage disequilibrium with HLA-DR3-B18, a haplotype known to be associated with IDDM. Thus the increased frequency of TNFa1b5 among diabetics could reflect a linkage disequilibrium with a gene within the TNF region or with other genes, including the HLAs, which characterize this haplotype. In both controls and diabetics TNFa2b3 and TNFa7b4 were in linkage disequilibrium with DR3-B8 and DR7, respectively. Among diabetics, TNFa2b1 and TNFa6b5 were in linkage disequilibrium with DR4-B62 and DR4-B44, respectively. It is intriguing that TNFab haplotypes, represented by a short piece of about 200 nucleotides in the untranslated region upstream of TNF beta gene, maintain strong linkage disequilibria with different HLA haplotypes extending over 1 million base pairs. The identification of TNFab microsatellites exhibiting a high polymorphic index in a region lacking known polymorphic markers may provide potentially important information regarding the association of HLA haplotypes with autoimmune diseases, as they are in close proximity to other genes of immunologic importance.


Journal article


Hum immunol

Publication Date





70 - 79


Alleles, DNA, Satellite, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1, HLA-DR4 Antigen, Haplotypes, Humans, Linkage Disequilibrium, Polymorphism, Genetic, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha