HLA antigens and various aspects of atopy were studied in 42 Finnish children and adolescents with coeliac disease, and the results were compared with findings of recent population studies. The HLA associations were as expected: relative risks for coeliac disease in individuals with HLA-B8, DR3, and DR7 were 8 . 0, 18 . 6, and 15 . 0, respectively. Children with coeliac disease were significantly more often atopic than unselected schoolchildren. Atopy was significantly more frequent and the onset of coeliac disease later for B8/DR3- patients than B8/DR3+ patients. There was no obvious relation between DR7 and atopy. It is concluded that atopy predisposes to coeliac disease partly independently of the HLA-DR3 associated disease susceptibility gene(s), and that different mechanisms may operate in the pathogenesis in coeliac disease patients with and without atopy.
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