Anti-HLA antibodies after solid organ transplantation

Transplantation. 2000 Feb 15;69(3):319-26. doi: 10.1097/00007890-200002150-00001.


We have cited more than 23 studies showing that de novo development of anti-HLA antibodies is associated with increased acute and chronic rejection and decreased graft survival in kidney, heart, lung, liver, and corneal transplants. Antibodies to both HLA class I and class II antigens seem to be detrimental. Antibodies of the IgG isotype and possibly the IgM isotype were clinically relevant. Most studies showed that donor-specific antibodies were associated with rejection and graft loss. Therefore, HLA antibodies provide a clinical readout for patient alloreactivity that may have the ability to distinguish graft dysfunction due to immunologic and nonimmunologic causes. Antibody may act as a critical trigger for rejection of allografts and may serve as an early indicator of a slowly smoldering chronic rejection that is not manifested at a given time by biochemical measures such as serum creatinine levels. The effectiveness of various drugs on chronic rejection should be evaluable by their effects on HLA antibody production. We predict that recently developed ELISA and flow cytometry techniques using purified HLA antigen will increase the clinical relevance of posttransplantation HLA antibody monitoring by (1) allowing the detection of low levels of donor antibody; (2) easily distinguishing the isotype and target (HLA class I or class II) of the antibodies; and (3) correlating the antibody with specific graft pathology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / immunology*
  • Graft Rejection / immunology
  • HLA Antigens / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Organ Transplantation*
  • Transplantation Immunology*


  • Antibodies
  • HLA Antigens