Human narcolepsy is a genetically determined disorder of sleep strongly associated with the human leucocyte antigens (HLA) DR2 and DQw1. In black narcoleptic patients, susceptibility for narcolepsy is more closely related to a specific gene subtype of DQw1, DQB1-0602, than to DR2. About 30% of black narcoleptic patients are nonDR2, but all carry the HLA DQB1-0602 gene. In the present study, we have tested caucasian nonDR2 cataplectic patients (6 sporadic cases and 7 familial cases from 3 multiplex families) for the presence of the HLA DQB1-0602 and DQA1-0102 (DQw1) using a specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-oligotyping technique. None of the patients was DQB1-0602 or DQA1-0102 positive, thus proving that, in caucasians, DQB1-0602 and DQA1-0102 (DQw1) are not prerequisites for the diagnosis of narcolepsy. Further studies with more patients are warranted to exclude the possibility that a few caucasian patients carry rare haplotypes with DQB1-0602 independently of DR2.
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