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Analysis of the frequencies of class II HLA-DR and HLA-DQ alleles by serological and DNA typing in 49 Japanese patients with type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes and 31 Japanese controls indicates the following. (i) Susceptibility is more strongly associated with the HLA-DQ subregion than with the HLA-DR subregion. (ii) Of the class II alleles detected, the A3 allele of the DQA1 locus was the most strongly associated with disease. Ninety-six percent of the patients were positive for the A3 allele compared to 53% of the controls (P = 0.001; relative risk = 19.7; confidence limits = 3.72-188.64). (iii) The DQw8 allele of the DQB1 locus, which is associated with susceptibility to type 1 diabetes in Caucasians and Blacks, was not increased in frequency in Japanese patients (22%) versus controls (19%). (iv) Asp-57-encoding DQB1 alleles are associated with reduced susceptibility to type 1 diabetes in Caucasians. The major predisposing haplotypes in Japanese are DR4 and DR9. By DNA sequence analysis, both of these Japanese haplotypes have Asp-57-encoding DQB1 alleles. Oligonucleotide dot blot analysis showed that all, except 1, of the 49 Japanese patients and all of the 31 controls have at least one Asp-57-encoding DQB1 allele. In addition, 40% of the patients were homozygous for Asp-57-encoding DQB1 alleles versus 35% of the controls. The high frequencies of Asp-57-encoding DQB1 alleles in this ethnic group may account for the rarity of type 1 diabetes in Japan.

Original publication




Journal article


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Publication Date





1094 - 1098