Med. Weter. 69 (10), 592-596, 2013

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Urtnowski P., Oprządek J., Pawlik A., Brzozowska A., Sender G.
Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) history, structure and function
Contemporary research about the histocompatibility of humans and animals is derived from the experimental medical studies on tumors and blood group serology in mice. Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) was discovered and described in the mid-1930s, while the elements determining the acceptance or rejection of tumor tissue have been studied in mice. Since the discovery of the first antigen in the human histocompatibility complex (HLA-A2), there has been a rapid development of research regarding the diversity of MHC molecules, as well as their encoding genes in human, mouse and livestock. Currently, three subgroups of MHC molecules have been identified, differing in terms of both structure and function. Over the last three decades, a number of analytical methods aimed at the accurate characterization of human and livestock MHC gene polymorphism have been used. The first techniques made it possible to define the differences in protein products. The turn of the 1980s and the 1990s has witnessed studies in which molecular biology techniques were used for the identification of alleles and genotypes of MHC in humans and animals. Genes of this complex can be used as genetic markers for susceptibility or resistance to various diseases. Due to the very broad possibilities for the use of the relationship between MHC and the susceptibility (resistance) of animals to diseases, comprehensive studies of this issue have been conducted on farm animals.
Key words: MHC, structure, functions