Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) associations with diseases in ethnic groups of the Arabian Peninsula

Halima Al Naqbi, Aurélie Mawart, Jawaher Alshamsi, Habiba Al Safar, Guan K. Tay

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Since the discovery of human leukocyte antigens (HLAs), the function of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) gene families in a wide range of diseases have been the subject of research for decades. In particular, the associations of autoimmune disorders to allelic variants and candidate genes encoding the MHC are well documented. However, despite decades of research, the knowledge of MHC associations with human disease susceptibility have been predominantly studied in European origin, with limited understanding in different populations and ethnic groups. This is particularly evident in countries and ethnic populations of the Arabian Peninsula. Human MHC haplotypes, and its association with diseases, of the variable ethnic groups of this region are poorly studied. This review compiled published manuscripts that have reported a list of autoimmune diseases (insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, systemic lupus erythematosus, myasthenia gravis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis vulgaris, and multiple sclerosis) associated with MHC class I and class II in the populations of the Arabian Peninsula, specifically Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Data available was compared with other three ethnic groups, namely Caucasians, Asians, and Africans. The limited data available in the public domain on the association between MHC gene and autoimmune diseases highlight the challenges in the Middle Eastern region.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)131-152
Number of pages22
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Arab
  • Disease association
  • HLA
  • MHC


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