Protective Effect of
Human Leukocyte Antigen

Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA)

Genes that are located in the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) of chromosome 6 and play a central role in immune recognition. Most investigations of association of HLA to various diseases have focused on evaluating HLA allele frequencies in diseases of interest, as compared to the general, healthy population. Such studies have demonstrated HLA involvement with cancer, autoimmune, and in- fectious diseases. HLA Class I proteins (HLA-A, B, C) are expressed on all nucleated cells and present peptides from endogenous proteins to cytotoxic T lymphocytes engaged in immune surveillance. HLA Class II proteins (HLA-DRB1, DRB3/4/5, DQB1, DPB1) are expressed on antigen-presenting cells and present peptides derived from exogenous proteins to CD4+helper T cells. A previous study of Gulf War syndrome in 27 veterans found that HLA DRB1*15 was more prevalent in cases than controls with an odds ratio of 1.66, although this association was not statistically significant.
Allele DRB1*13:02 on Age-Related Brain Gray Matter Volume Reduction in Healthy Women

BackgroundReduction of brain volume (brain atrophy) during healthy brain aging is well documented and dependent on genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors. Here we investigated the possible dependence of brain gray matter volume reduction in the absence of the
Human Leukocyte Antigen

Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA)

Genes that are located in the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) of chromosome 6 and play a central role in immune recognition. Most investigations of association of HLA to various diseases have focused on evaluating HLA allele frequencies in diseases of interest, as compared to the general, healthy population. Such studies have demonstrated HLA involvement with cancer, autoimmune, and in- fectious diseases. HLA Class I proteins (HLA-A, B, C) are expressed on all nucleated cells and present peptides from endogenous proteins to cytotoxic T lymphocytes engaged in immune surveillance. HLA Class II proteins (HLA-DRB1, DRB3/4/5, DQB1, DPB1) are expressed on antigen-presenting cells and present peptides derived from exogenous proteins to CD4+helper T cells. A previous study of Gulf War syndrome in 27 veterans found that HLA DRB1*15 was more prevalent in cases than controls with an odds ratio of 1.66, although this association was not statistically significant.
allele DRB1*13:02 which prevents brain atrophy in
Gulf War Illness

Gulf War Illness (GWI)

Shortly after the Gulf War (1990^aEUR"91), veterans started to report a variety of health problems that began during, or soon after returning from, deployment, prompting investigation into the epidemiology and etiology of the complaints. Those investigations revealed that diffuse symptoms such as fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, mood and neurocognitive complaints, gastrointestinal problems, and rashes were most commonly reported. The constellation of symptoms, now commonly referred to as Gulf War Illness (GWI), has affected a substantial number of Gulf War veterans. Several population-based studies have demonstrated that these symptoms occur at significantly higher rates in deployed Gulf War veterans relative to their nondeployed peers and other veterans, raising the issue about possible in-theater exposures and stress as contributing factors. However, these symptoms are also present in non-deployed military personnel, leading some to suspect other causes, including reactions to vaccine adjuvants. In summary, GWI is now a recognized constellation of symptoms of unclear etiology, also co-occurring with psychiatric disorders.
(James et al., 2017).MethodsSeventy-one cognitively healthy women (32-69 years old) underwent a
Structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging (sMRI)

Performed to assess gray-matter volume. The data are acquired using a Philips 3T Achieva XL magnet with a SENSE 8 channel head coil. Approximately 500,000 voxels per brain are analyzed. In the first analysis, the volume of about 100 separate brain regions is calculated using FreeSurfer software (www.surfer.nmr.mgh.harvard. edu). This provides a coarse-grain, volumetric analysis of areas of the brain. In the second analysis, called voxel-based morphometry, the density of each voxel is assessed for a fine-grain analysis of each area.5 Typically, gray-matter volume decreases with age but at rates that are different for different people, for different areas of the brain, and for men and women. In that sense, one can talk about "gray-matter age" versus chronological age. A person may be 68 years old but have the gray-matter volume of a 50-year-old. Defining brain age based on measurements (as contrasted with chronological age) is a pervasive theme in this project.
scan to measure the volumes of total gray matter, cerebrocortical gray matter, and subcortical gray matter. Participants were assigned to two groups, depending on whether they lacked the DRB1*13:02 allele (No DRB1*13:02 group, N = 60) or carried the DRB1*13:02 allele (N = 11). We assessed the change of brain gray matter volume with age in each group by performing a linear regression where the brain volume (adjusted for total intracranial volume) was the dependent variable and age was the independent variable.FindingsIn the No DRB1*13:02 group, the volumes of total gray matter, cerebrocortical gray matter, and subcortical gray matter were reduced highly significantly. In contrast, none of these volumes showed a statistically significant reduction with age in the DRB1*13:02 group.InterpretationThese findings document the protective effect of DRB1*13:02 on age-dependent reduction of brain gray matter in healthy individuals. Since the role of this allele is to connect to matching epitopes of external antigens for the subsequent production of antibodies and elimination of the offending antigen, we hypothesize that its protective effect may be due to the successful elimination of such antigens to which we are exposed during the lifespan, antigens that otherwise would persist causing gradual brain atrophy. In addition, we consider a possible beneficial role of DRB1*13:02 attributed to its binding to cathepsin S, a known harmful substance in brain aging (Wendt et al., 2008). Of course, other factors covarying with the presence of DRB1*13:02 could be involved.