Name: Regina W.
I have lichen planus and cell marker HLA A-3 is
associated with it. What exactly is HLA A-3?
HLA stands for Human Lymphocytic Antigen. It is one of the markers that
be checked for organ compatibility if you were ever an organ donor or
recipient. The fact that its associated with lichen planus or is "linked",
means only that the two traits sit close together on a chromosome. They
do not necessarily have anything to do with each other.
One of your ancestors must have carried the lichen planus gene, and he/she
also had the same type of HLA antigen that you carry. Since they are close
together on a chromosome, they tend to travel together to the next
generation. It is sort of like shuffling a deck of cards -- cards that were
next to each other are more likely to end up next to each other than cards
that started out far apart.
The fact that the HLA marker and l.p. are linked also means that if you have
children, they could be tested to see if they're likely to also carry both.
Christine Ticknor, Ph.D.
Case Western Reserve University
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Update: June 2012