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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » Bartonella Triggers and/or Worsens HLA-Associated Diseases

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Author Topic: Bartonella Triggers and/or Worsens HLA-Associated Diseases
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Evidence that Bartonella worsens and/or triggers HLA-associated diseases is emerging. There is a March, 2011 article in the Review of Ophthalamology speaking to this.

I've pasted a portion of the article below.

Evidence on HLA-B27

Many Gram-negative bacteria (Klebsiella, Salmonella, Proteus, Yersinia, Shigella and Campylobacter) have been implicated in the development of HLA-B27-associated diseases such as uveitis, reactive arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.33

There is also emerging evidence of a potential association between Bartonella intraocular infections/uveitis and HLA-B27 antigen expression.

Michel Drancourt and associates described a 40-year-old HLA-B27 positive woman with a 10-year history of poorly controlled nongranulomatous uveitis whose inflammation was controlled only after a Bartonella diagnosis was made and appropriate antibiotic therapy was instituted.34

In an analysis done by Frank Kerkhoff and Aniki Rothova, six of 19 patients with positive enzyme immunoassays for B. henselae were also HLA-B27 positive. This number was significantly higher than the rate of HLA-B27 positivity in a control group of 25 patients with uveitis and no serologic evidence for B. henselae infection.33

Moreover, HLA-B27 positive patients may be at risk for more severe ocular Bartonella infections. Five of the six patients with both serologic evidence of Bartonella infection and HLA-B27 antigen expression described in this study had what Drs. Kerkhoff and Rothova characterized as severe posterior segment involvement.

Four of these patients had a history of previous uveitis restricted to the anterior segment, and only later developed a more severe posterior uveitis when they converted to having B. henselae-positive serology.33

It is currently unknown how such bacterial colonization or infection with B. henselae (and other Gram-negative bacteria) triggers or worsens HLA-associated disease, but there are theories of localized changes related to the interactions between the bacteria and immune cells in HLA-B27-positive patients.33

Posts: 503 | From Maryland | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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I'm putting the information below here in this thread so I can refer to it later. lol Perhaps it'll be helpful to others as well.

HLA types and autoimmune diseases


Most people know their ABO blood type. In some countries people carry a card indicating their blood type, in case of accident requiring an emergency blood transfusion. Few people however have heard of HLA types (human leukocyte antigens), the antigens in our blood that fight off microbes.

Contrarily to ABO blood types people do not have just one HLA type, but many (about 8 per person).

There are 3 major types of class I HLA (HLA-A, HLA-B, HLA-C) and 3 major types of class II HLA (HLA-DP, HLA-DQ and HLA-DR). Each type comprises hundreds of subtype (e.g. HLA-B27), further subdivided in hundreds of sub-subtypes (e.g. HLA-B*2705).

People will usually have 2 types of HLA-A, 2 of HLA-B, and 2 of HLA-C as well as 1 or 2 other types.

HLA types are encoded in the HLA gene on chromosome 6. HLA types are therefore hereditary, just like the ABO blood type.

HLA's role in fighting diseases

Each type and subtype is more or less efficient in fighting off viruses and noxious bacteria. There are tens of thousands of possible combinations of HLA, which is why some people never get sick, while other constantly have a cold, or are prone to some types of infections, depending on what HLA combination they have.

HLA types found in tropical countries tend to differ a lot from those in temperate parts of the world, because the viruses found there are different. Some Africans have developed HLA that give them resistance to malaria, for instance. When the Europeans arrived in the Americas, bringing with them new viruses on the continent, the biggest part of the Native American population of North America was wiped out as they didn't have the right antigens to fight off even the common cold.

But too aggressive HLA's can also be bad for the body. Some HLA types are known to attack the body's own cells, causing what is known as autoimmune diseases, in other words diseases caused by one's immune system attacking one's own body.

Autoimmune diseases linked to HLA types

Here are a few known or suspected associations between HLA types and autoimmune conditions :

Ankylosing spondylitis (arthritis of the spine and sacroiliac joint) : caused by HLA-B27 in 95% of the cases. The combination HLA-B7/B*2705 heterozygotes exhibited the highest risk for disease.

Celiac disease (gluten allergy) : 95% of all celiacs have HLA-DQ2. 12% have HLA-DQ8.

Diabetes : The HLA types DR2, DR6 and DR11 are protective against Type 1 diabetes. The risk alleles are DR3, DR4 and DQ2.5. DR3 is linked to late-onset, whereas carriers of DR4 are at risk for early-onset Type 1 diabetes. People who carry both DR3 and DR4 types are at the highest risk and will develop diabetes the youngest.

HLA's play a lesser role in Type 2 diabetes. There is a suspected link with HLA-Cw4, DR7, DR11 and DQA1, among others.

Graves' disease : HLA-DR3 plays a significant role in the disease.

Hashimoto's thyroiditis : strongly associated with HLA-DR5.

Lupus : weakly associated with HLA DR3, DR4, DR15 and DQA1.

Multiple Sclerosis : HLA-DRB1*1501 plays a role in the disease.

Myasthenia gravis : the main risk factors are HLA B8 and DR3 with DR1.

Narcolepsy : strongly associated with HLA-DQB1*0602. There is also an association with HLA DR2 and HLA DQ1.

Psoriasis : HLA-Cw*0602 is the main risk factor. HLA DR1 and DR7 may also play a role.

Rheumatoid Arthritis : HLA DR1, DR4, DR5, DR8 and DR12 are associated with the disease at various levels.

Posts: 503 | From Maryland | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Thanks, FuzzySlippers. Very interesting. I tested positive to HLA-DR4 (associated with bad reactions to the Lymerix vaccine), but didn't really know much about what it was. Thanks for the info.
Posts: 418 | From NJ | Registered: Sep 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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when they type and screen your blood... is this how they classify it?

Just curious in case I may already have had the testing done.

10/10 EIA 1.4+, 41 (IGG), 23 (IGM)
Bitten over 20 years ago.
Currently not treating, looking for a Dr who will work with my insurance lol.

More muscular, cognitive, nerve issues than joints. Facial droop and blurred vision.

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My sickest son was HLA-B27 positive and ANA positive and I couldn't get anyone to pay attention to that fact nor his bag full of conditions and symptoms. I think it is making sense to me now. I wish it had to all 19 of them over 3 years!
Thanks for the info.

Things are never dull. After 3 fighting Lyme, 2 are in remission. Youngest is still sick, age 22. He has new diagnosed Chiari Malformation and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.

Posts: 1366 | From Perrysburg, Ohio | Registered: Nov 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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amk, if memory serves, I "think" the HLA-DR4 can also cause problems with heavy metals. I think I recall reading articles from Biological Dentists indicating that HLA-DR4 people have difficulty detoxing metals?

I might be misremembering, but I "think" they also mentioned that HLA-DR4 people, particularly males, were more susceptible to vaccine-induced autism? Again, don't quote me on this -- I might be applying the wrong HLA-DR variant to this.

Laura, I don't think the HLA and other genetic testing is automatically performed during Type and Cross Match blood tests (i.e., to find out whether one is blood type A, A+, O, B, etc.). I believe there might be specific tests which are required to find out one's HLA and other genetic stats.

I've not had any of this testing done yet. The only genetic testing I had done was to rule in or rule out the MTHFR Genetic Variant. This was done by my LLMD to find out why I kept clotting my IV lines.

ktkdommer, I'm so sorry to hear this -- 19 doctors! -- sheesh. I hope this little bit of information might be of help and provide a launching platform maybe for you to do some research and poking around? Maybe Google "HLA and Infectious Disease(s)?"

I know there are many here on the Board who are far better versed than I, on the HLA issue.


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Personally I think the research is not really convincing on some of these associations. I think it is more a correlation and not really a causation.

Hubby has the HLA-B27 marker and I forget which other ones. But lots of healthy people have that marker as well. Having the marker may increase your odds of getting some of these diseases, but it is not like some genetic disease where it is 100% a disease marker.

Bea Seibert

Posts: 7306 | From Martinsville,VA,USA | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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