Genetic and environmental factors are responsible for differences in the prevalence of some diseases across countries. Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) allele frequencies in North African populations show some differences in their distribution compared to Europeans, Mediterraneans, and sub-Saharans, and some specific alleles and haplotypes could be clinically relevant. Celiac disease (CD) has been fast increasing in prevalence in North Africa; but few immunogenetic data are available for this area, in which a high prevalence of the disease has been described. In this report, we assess and discuss results of HLA class II (HLA-DQA1/DQB1/DRB1) typing in Moroccan patients with CD and compare them with a control population from Morocco—genetically well characterized—and with other North African, Mediterranean, and European populations. The classical HLA-DQ associations were confirmed in Moroccans with CD. The high frequency of DQ2.5 homozygosity (45.2%) found in Moroccans with CD was noteworthy as compared with other populations (23%–32%). The genetic risk gradient for CD, identified by previous studies, has been confirmed in Moroccans with some differences, mainly concerning DQ8 genotypes. This study provides the immunogenetic framework of CD in Moroccans and confirms the need to learn more about associations with additional HLA and non-HLA genetic factors.
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