Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) is a hypersensitivity lung disease caused by the mold Aspergillus fumigatus. We previously reported that the majority of T cell clones (TCC) isolated from three ABPA patients, and specific for a dominant Ag of A. fumigatus, Asp f 1, were IL-4-producing CD4+ Th2 cells capable of responding to Ag in association with the HLA-DR subtypes DRB1*1501, *1503, and *1601 for HLA-DR2, and DRB1*1101, *1104, and *1202 for HLA-DR5. In the present study we extended the previous findings to determine whether the observed restriction with the HLA-DR2/5 subtypes held importance in a larger patient population. Serotyping revealed that 16 of 18 ABPA patients were either HLA-DR2, HLA-DR5, or both. Compared with a normal control population, the frequencies of HLA-DR2 (50 vs 22.3%) and HLA-DR5 (44.4 vs 19.8%) were significantly increased in these ABPA patients. Genotype analyses of an additional 15 patients identified the same HLA-DR subtypes previously shown functional for Asp f 1 Ag presentation. The relative avidities of Asp f 1 peptides for the purified HLA-DR subtypes, DRB1*1501 (functional) and DRB1*1502 (nonfunctional), were examined to determine whether differential binding to the HLA-DR subtypes explains successful Ag presentation. Similar low binding avidities were detected for both HLA-DR subtypes, indicating that the functionality cannot be simply explained by differences in binding affinities. Thus, the limited number and their role in Ag presentation emphasizes the possibility that the six identified HLA-DR subtypes are important in the pathophysiology of ABPA.

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