MHC-DQB1 Variation and Its Association with Resistance or Susceptibility to Cystic Echinococcosis in Chinese Merino Sheep

  • Hui, Wenqiao (College of Animal Science and Technology, Shihezi University) ;
  • Shen, Hong (College of Animal Science and Technology, Shihezi University) ;
  • Jiang, Song (College of Animal Science and Technology, Shihezi University) ;
  • Jia, Bin (College of Animal Science and Technology, Shihezi University)
  • Received : 2012.06.13
  • Accepted : 2012.08.22
  • Published : 2012.12.01


Cystic echinococcosis (CE), one of the world's most geographically widespread diseases, still represents a considerable economic and public health significance, although a variety of methods has been used to control the disease. It has been demonstrated that genetic factors, especially variations in MHC loci, can influence the outcome of CE infection in the human population. The study described here was designed to determine whether variation in MHC-DQB1 was associated with susceptibility or resistance to CE in sheep. If so, it would lay a theoretical foundation for breeding disease resistance sheep in future. This study was carried out on 204 Chinese Merino sheep, including 101 CE sheep and 103 healthy controls. The polymorphism of MHC-DQB1 exon 2 was detected by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) method, and $x^2$ test was used to compare genotype frequencies between CE sheep and healthy controls. A total of 22 alleles and 42 genotypes were identified in DQB1 exon 2 in Chinese Merino sheep. In addition, $x^2$ test showed that frequencies of DQB1-TaqIaa and DQB1-HaeIIInn genotypes were significantly higher in the healthy group (82.5% and 57.3%, respectively) than that in the CE group (57.4% and 28.9%, respectively) (both p values = 0, OR = 0.286, 0.303, respectively), suggesting that these genotypes appeared to be associated with resistance to CE. Whereas, frequencies of DQB1-TaqIab and DQB1-HaeIIImn genotypes were significantly higher in the CE group (36.9% and 32.0%, respectively), as compared with the healthy group (16.5% and 11.15%, respectively) (p = 0.001, 0.001 and OR = 2.963, 3.629, respectively), indicating that these genotypes might be associated with susceptibility to CE. It is concluded that the genetic polymorphism within MHC-DQB1 might influence immune responses to pathogens, thus leading to the development of CE or protection against CE in Chinese Merino sheep, which would pave the way for breeding disease resistance sheep in future.


  1. Aida, Y. 2001. Influence of host genetic differences on leukemogenesis-induced bovine leukemia virus. AIDS Res. Hum. Retroviruses 17:5-31.
  2. Amills, M., C. Sulasa, G. Bertonib, R. Zanonib and G. Obexer- Ruff. 2005. Nucleotide sequence and polymorphism of the caprine major histocompatibility complex class II DQA1 gene. Mol. Immunol. 42:375-379.
  3. Charon, K. M., B. Moskwa, R. Rutkowski and J. Gruszczynska. 2002. Microsatellite polymorphism in DRB1 gene (MHC class II) and its relation to nematode faecal egg count in Polish Heath sheep. J. Anim. Feed Sci. 11:47-58.
  4. Conchedda, M., F. Gabriele and G. Bortoletti. 2008. Morphological study of anomalous "laminated" brood capsules in cystic echinococcosis in humans and sheep. Acta Trop. 105: 215-221.
  5. Daly, A. K. and C. P. Day. 2001. Candidate gene case-control association studies: advantages and potential pitfalls. Br. J. Clin. Pharmacol. 52:489-499.
  6. Dorak, M. T. 2006. Statistical analysis in HLA and disease association studies, Workshop at BSHI 2002 meeting, Scotland (accessed: at 25/2/2007).
  7. Escayg, A. P., J. G. H. Hickford and D. W. Bullock. 1997. Association between alleles of the ovine major histocompatibility complex and resistance to footrot. Res. Vet. Sci. 63:283-287.
  8. Feichtlbauer-Huber, P., M. J. Stear, R. Fries and J. Buitcamp. 2000. Reference-strand-mediated conformation analysis of MHC alleles: a new method for high-resolution typing of the ovar-DQB genes. Immunogenetics 51:65-68.
  9. Hui, W. Q., B. Jia, Z. S. Zhao, Y. C. Du and H. Shen. 2012. Differential expression of MHC-DQB1 mRNA in Chinese Merino sheep infected with Echinococcusus granulosus. Parasitol. Res. 110:2075-2079.
  10. Hui, W., X. Du, B. Jia, X. Liu, Muyesaer, J. Ma and S. Ma. 2012. Seroprevalence of cystic echinococcosis in Chinese Merino and duolang sheep in Xinjiang, China. Pak. Vet. J. 32:459-461.
  11. Klein, J. 1986. The natural history of the major histocompatibility complex. Wiley, New York, USA, pp. 56-79.
  12. Konnai, S., Y. Nagaoka, S. Takesima, M. Onuma and Y. Aida. 2003a. DNA typing for ovine MHC-DRB1 using polymerase chain reaction restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP). J. Dairy Sci. 86:3362-3365.
  13. Konnai, S., S. Takesima, S. Tajima, S. A. Yin, K. Okada, M. Onuma and Y. Aida. 2003b. The influence of ovine MHC class II DRB1 alleles on immune response in bovine leukemia virus infection. Microbiol. Immunol. 47:223-232.
  14. Larruskain, A., E. Minguijon, K. Garcia-Etxebarria, B. Moreno, I. Arostegui, R. A. Juste and B. M. Jugo. 2010. MHC class II DRB1 gene polymorphism in the pathogenesis of Maedi-Visna and pulmonary adenocarcinoma viral diseases in sheep. Immunogenetics 62:75-83.
  15. Li, R. Y., B. Jia, W. J. Zhang, Z. S. Zhao, G. Q. Shi, H. Shen, Q. Peng, L. M. Lv, Q. W. Zhou and Y. C. Du. 2010. Analysis of the relationship between MHC-DRB1 gene polymorphism and hydatidosis in Kzazkh sheep. Asian-Aust. J. Anim. Sci. 23: 1145-1151.
  16. Lightowlers, M. W., O. Jensen, E. Fernandez, J. A. Iriarte, D. J. Woollard, C. G. Gauci, D. J. Jenkins and D. D. Heath. 1999. Vaccination trials in Australia and Argentina confirm the effectiveness of the EG95 hydatid vaccine in sheep. Int. J. Parasitol. 29:531-534.
  17. Millot, P. 1978. The major histocompatibility complex of sheep (OLA) and two minor loci. Anim. Blood Groups Biochem. Genet. 9:115-121.
  18. Outteridge, P. M., L. Andersson, P. G. Douch, R. S. Green, P. S. Gwakisa, M. A. Hohenhaus and S. Mikko. 1996. The PCR typing of MHC-DRB genes in the sheep using primers for an intronic microsatellite: application to nematode parasite resistance. Immunol. Cell Biol. 74:330-336.
  19. Sangster, N. C. 1999. Anthelmintic resistance: past, present, and future. Int. J. Parasitol. 29:115-124.
  20. Sayers, G., B. Good, J. P. Hanrahan, M. Ryan, J. M. Angles and T. Sweeney. 2005. Major histocompatibility complex DRB1 gene: its role in nematode resistance in Suffolk and Texel sheep breeds. Parasitology 131:403-409.
  21. Shiina, T., H. Inoko and J. K. Kulski. 2004. An update of the HLA genomic region, locus information and disease associations. Tissue Antigens 64:631-649.
  22. Stear, M. J., G. T. Innocent and J. Buitkamp. 2005. The evolution and maintenance of polymorphism in the major histocompatibility complex. Vet. Immunol. Immunopathol. 108:53-57.
  23. Sun, D. X. and Y. Zhang. 2004. Polymorphism of the second exon of MHC-DRB gene in Chinese local sheep and goat. Biochem. Genet. 42:385-390.
  24. Torgerson, P. R. 2003. Economic effect of echinococcosis. Acta Trop. 85:113-118.
  25. Woodal, C. J., L. J. Maclaren and N. J. Watt. 1997. Differential levels of mRNAs for cytokines, the interleukin-2 receptor and class II DR/DQ genes in ovine interstitial pneumonia induced by maedi visna virus infection. Vet. Pathol. 34:204-211.
  26. Zhang, W. B., J. Li and D. P. McManus. 2003. Concepts in immunology and diagnosis of hydatid disease. Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 16:18-36.

Cited by

  1. infection, using a high-throughput approach vol.23, pp.1776-1042, 2016,