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It is generally accepted that MHC II molecules confer susceptibility to inflammatory diseases because of the different abilities they possess for binding and presenting peptides to T cells. A new study suggests that the level of MHC II gene expression is also a risk factor for such diseases. It shows that a polymorphism in the promoter of the MHC II transactivator (MHC2TA) gene (which encodes CIITA), leads to reduced MHC2TA expression, and hence reduced production of MHC II molecules. This predisposes to rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and myocardial infarction.

Original publication




Journal article


Trends Immunol

Publication Date





559 - 561


Arthritis, Rheumatoid, Gene Expression Regulation, Histocompatibility Antigens Class II, Humans, Inflammation, Multiple Sclerosis, Myocardial Infarction, Polymorphism, Genetic, Promoter Regions, Genetic