HLA: The Major Histocompatibility Complex of Man
NAVAL MEDICAL RESEARCH INST BETHESDA MD
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Survival depends on the immune systems ability to recognize a multitude of foreign substances antigens and to respond to them, Although this defense mechanism is basic to survival in a hostile world of microorganisms, this same defense system becomes a major obstacle when attempting to transplant tissues from one individual to another or when malfunction of immune recognition triggers autoaggressive reactions. The major histocompatibility complex MHC genes encode proteins that are essential to this immune recognition. Products of the MHC have been grouped into three classes on the basis of structure, genetic origin, and function Class I, Class II, and Class III. The human Class I molecules include HLA-A, HLA-B, and HLA-C Class II molecules include HLA-DR, HLA-DQ, and HLA-DP Class III molecules include the MHC-linked complement components C2, C4, and BF, 21-hydroxylase 210H, and tumor necrosis factor TNF.
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