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BACKGROUND: HLA class I and class II alleles have been shown to be associated with the development of dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF)/dengue shock syndrome (DSS) in different populations. However, the majority of studies have been based on limited numbers of patients. In this study we aimed to investigate the HLA-class I and class II alleles that are positively and negatively associated with the development of DSS in a cohort of patients with DHF and also the alleles associated with development of DHF during primary dengue infections in a Sri Lankan population. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The allele frequencies of HLA class I and class II alleles were compared in 110 patients with DHF and 119 individuals from the population who had never reported a symptomatic dengue infection at the time of recruitment. We found that HLA-A*31 (corrected P = 0.01) and DRB1*08 (corrected P = 0.009) were associated with susceptibility to DSS when infected with the dengue virus, during secondary dengue infection. The frequency of DRB1*08 allele was 28.7 times higher than in the normal population in patients with DSS. HLA-A*31 allele was increased 16.6 fold in DHF who developed shock when compared to those who did not develop shock. A*24 (corrected P = 0.03) and DRB1*12 (corrected P = 0.041) were strongly associated with the development of DHF during primary dengue infection. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: These data suggest that certain HLA alleles confer susceptibility/protection to severe dengue infections. As T cell epitope recognition depend on the HLA type of an individual, it would be now important to investigate how epitope specific T cells associate with primary and secondary dengue infections and in severe dengue infections.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Alleles, Dengue Virus, Female, Gene Frequency, Histocompatibility Antigens Class I, Histocompatibility Antigens Class II, Humans, Male, Severe Dengue, Sri Lanka