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Keywords:

  • anti-HLA antibodies;
  • rejection;
  • renal;
  • solid phase assays

SUMMARY

Since its inception in the early 1960s, the serologically based complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC) assay has been the cornerstone technique for the detection of human leucocyte antigen (HLA) antibodies, not only in pre-transplant renal patients, but also in other forms of organ transplantation. Recently, solid phase assays have been developed and introduced for this purpose, and in particular the Flow-based bead assays such as the Luminex system. This latter assay has proved to be far more sensitive than the CDC assay and has revealed pre-sensitization in potential transplant recipients not detected by other methods of HLA antibody detection. However, the clinical implications of this increased sensitivity have not been convincingly demonstrated until recently. This technology for HLA antibody detection permits the evaluation of the clinical importance of antibodies directed at, for example, HLA-DPB1 and HLA-DQA1, which has not been possible to date. There are Luminex issues, however, requiring resolution such as the ability to distinguish between complement fixing and non-complement fixing antibodies and determination of their relative clinical significance. Luminex technology will permit a re-evaluation of the role of HLA antibodies in both early and late antibody-mediated rejection.