Association of KIR genes and MHC class I ligands with atopic dermatitis

David J. Margolis, Nandita Mitra, Ole J. Hoffstad, Brian S. Kim, Dimitri S. Monos, Elizabeth J. Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic illness that is associated with immune dysregulation. NK cell function has previously been associated with AD. NK cells directly interact with polymorphic HLA class I ligand variants using killer cell Ig-like receptors (KIRs). The purpose of this study was to identify potential associations between NK cell function and AD by evaluating variation in the presence of KIR genes as well as KIR gene interactions with the appropriate HLA class I KIR-specific ligands. Human DNA from the genetics of AD case-control study was used to genotype HLA class I KIR-specific ligands and the presence of KIR genes. In the full cohort, an increased risk of AD was noted for KIR2DL5 (1.51 [1.13, 2.01]), KIR2DS5 (1.72 [1.26, 2.34]), and KIR2DS1 (1.41 [1.04, 1.91]). Individuals with KIR2DS5 or KIR2DS1 and the HLA-C*C2 epitope were at an increased risk of AD (1.74 [1.21, 2.51] and 1.48 [1.04, 2.12], respectively). The HLA-B*-21T (TT) leader sequence increased the risk of AD across ethnicity. African Americans with KIR2DL2, KIR2DS1, KIR2DL5, and KIR2DS5 are more likely to have AD, and the risk increased for KIR2DS1 and KIR2DS5 in the presence of appropriate HLA-C C2 epitope. The risk of AD also increased for individuals with the HLA-B*-21T leader sequence. Future studies should focus on KIR gene allelic variation as well as consider cell-based measurements of KIR and the associated HLA class I epitopes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1522-1529
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 15 Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes


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