About HLA Gene Functions

How the Functioning of HLA Genes Can Cause RPL

HLA genes refer to a gene family found on the 6th chromosome that codes for the production of molecules that have specific functions in the immune system. They help to distinguish the body's own proteins from those of invaders such as viruses and bacteria. They use what are called MHC molecules – MHC stands for major histocompatibility complex – to assist in the process in two ways. These molecules "pick up" proteins in the blood stream or within cells and present them to other cells in the immune system for identification and the decision to attack the cell or leave it alone. Secondly, they act as markers on cell surfaces to assist the immune system to identify the cell as "self" or foreign and again, indicate whether or not it should be attacked.

There are many HLA genes, each with many variations, and each cell in the body has MHC molecules on its surface. In cases of organ transplants, there must be many matches in the HLA genes of the donor and recipient, so that the immune system does not detect the new organ to be foreign and so reject it. This is not, however, the case with an embryo. In fact new literature has shown that there are "immune privileged" sites in the body most notably the eye, testicles, and the uterus, and here the immune system uses differences in "key" HLA genes to start the process of immune tolerance. There are certain reasons why a difference between the mother's HLA genes and those of the embryo require a significant difference for a pregnancy to be successful. By rejecting embryos with similar HLA genes, Mother Nature is attempting to diversify HLA genes between individuals, for if they were all the same a virus or bacteria could "crack" the code and wipe out large portions of the human population. The reasons for rejection are discussed under the section on HLA matching, which also explains how this is one of the causes of miscarriages.

Helping You Prevent Miscarriage with Reproductive Immunology

Dr. Braverman and his team are dedicated to helping patients worldwide achieve their goals with regard to expanding their families. We are the only practice that has been authorized to use the name Reproductive Immunology, as this requires proof of expertise in reproductive medicine and immunology to the New York State Department of Education. We will endeavor to continue our history of success with you and your family.

If you are having trouble with recurrent miscarriages it could be relating to HLA genes; contact Dr. Jeffery Braverman for comprehensive examination and treatment.

View our informational video about this topic by clicking on the video screen below.