Major histocompatibility complex class II and complement polymorphisms in postpartum thyroiditis

A B Parkes, C Darke, S Othman, M Thomas, Neil Thomas Young, C J Richards, R Hall, J H Lazarus

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22 Citations (Scopus)


The objective was to re-evaluate the association between class II HLA-DR and DQ MIIC antigens and postpartum thyroiditis (PPT) and to determine the prevalence of the class III complement allotypes of Properdin factor B (Bf), C4A and C4B in this condition. Two hundred and sixty-five (of 2897) pregnant women screened positive for thyroid autoantibody activity took part. Further blood samples were obtained for HLA class II (185) and complement (193) typing. The severity of the ensuing PPT was assessed by measuring thyroid function during the postpartum year. The HLA-DR and DQ phenotypes were assigned from restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis, and Bf, C4A and C4B allotypes were determined by immunofixation with anti-Bf or anti-C4 antibodies after electrophoresis. A weak association between the HLA class II antigens and PPT, as indicated by a reduced frequency of DR15 and DQ6 together with an increased frequency of-DR5 and DQ7, was confirmed. However, only the change in DR5 frequency remained significant after correction (corrected p <0.05). Postpartum thyroiditis was also associated with frequency disturbances in BI and C4A allotypes but not C4B allotypes. Whilst this study has not provided evidence of a strong marker gene for PPT, it does not preclude the involvement of the MIIC in this condition. These data show disturbances in complement allotype frequencies, suggesting that the class III region may provide a useful focus for further study of this pathology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-453
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Endocrinology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 1996


  • Complement C4a
  • Complement C4b
  • Complement Factor B
  • Complement System Proteins
  • Female
  • HLA-DQ Antigens
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II
  • Humans
  • Phenotype
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • Pregnancy
  • Puerperal Disorders
  • Thyroiditis, Autoimmune
  • Wales


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