Research Article

Frequency of HLA antigen in asbestos workers with and without pulmonary fibrosis.

Br Med J 1977; 1 doi: (Published 05 March 1977) Cite this as: Br Med J 1977;1:603
  1. C C Evans,
  2. H C Lewinsöhn,
  3. J M Evans


    HLA antigens were determined in 37 patients with asbestosis and 37 matched controls with equivalent asbestos exposure but no pulmonary fibrosis. All had worked in the same textile factory. No significant differences in the prevalence of antigens were found between the two groups or between either group and controls who had not been exposed to asbestos. When the data were combined with findings from other pilot studies the previously suggested association between asbestosis and HLA-B27 was not confirmed. Subjects who were positive for HLA-B12 tended also to have advanced radiographic fibrosis. Asbestos workers without pulmonary fibrosis had an unexpectedly high frequency of HLA-BW5, which might indicate that this antigen protects against the development of pulmonary fibrosis.