Background: Natural killer (NK) cells are the effector cells of innate immunity that respond to infection and tumor. Interactions between killer cell immunoglobulin like receptors (KIR) and human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I molecules regulate NK cells responses to eliminate infected and transformed cells.
Objective: To investigate the impact of KIR genes, HLA ligand genes, and KIR-HLA combinations on susceptibility to tuberculosis (TB) in Lur population of Iran.
Methods: The genomic DNA of 50 patients with TB from Lorestan province of Iran was genotyped for sixteen KIR genes and their five major HLA class I ligands were determined by a polymerase chain reaction-sequence-specific primers (PCR-SSP) assay. The results were compared with those of 200 healthy unrelated Iranian individuals.
Results: In Lur population of Iran, a significant decrease in frequency of KIR3DS1 was found in TB patients compared to control group (24% vs. 44.5%, OR=0.394, CI=0.194-0.798, p=0.013). Also, among the three activating genes that may use HLA class I molecules as their ligands, a significant decrease was shown in frequency of KIR3DS1 with HLA-B Bw4Ile80 ligand in TB patients compared to control group (4% vs. 23%, OR=0.14, CI=0.033-0.596, p=0.004).
Conclusion: These findings imply a genetic imbalance between activating and inhibitory KIR genes and KIR-HLA combinations in Lur TB patients. Low level of activating KIR3DS1 and its combination with HLA-B Bw4Ile80 ligand might have an influence on the susceptibility to TB in Lur population of Iran.