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Keywords:

  • Allo-sensitization;
  • HLA-antibodies;
  • pregnancy;
  • risk assessment;
  • transplantation

The aim of this study was to define the frequency and determinants of pregnancy-induced child-specific sensitization shortly after full-term delivery using sensitive single HLA-antigen beads (SAB) and high resolution HLA-typing of the mothers and their children (n = 301). A positive SAB result was defined by a background normalized ratio >1 or a mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) >300, >500 and >1000, respectively. The overall frequency of pregnancy-induced sensitization determined by SAB shortly after full-term delivery was between 45% (MFI > 1000 cut-off) and 76% (ratio cut-off). The rate of child-specific sensitization at the HLA-A/B/C/DRB1 loci was between 28% (MFI > 1000 cut-off) and 38% (ratio cut-off). The number of live birth was associated with a higher frequency of sensitization, which was driven by child-specific, but not third party HLA-antibodies. There was a clear hierarchy of sensitization among the investigated loci (B-locus: 31%; A-locus: 26%; DRB1-locus: 20%; C-locus: 15%; p < 0.0001). Some mismatched paternal HLA-antigens led to a significantly higher rate of sensitization than the average (e.g. HLA-A2, HLA-B49, HLA-B51, HLA-C*15). Furthermore, the mother's own HLA-phenotype—especially HLA-A/B homozygosity—was associated with a higher rate and broadness of sensitization. The number of mismatched HLA-A/B/C eplets strongly correlated with the rate of child-specific class I sensitization.