[Standardization and automation of HLA B27 typing by flow cytometry: validation and comparison with microlymphocytotoxicity]

Ann Biol Clin (Paris). Jul-Aug 2000;58(4):461-6.
[Article in French]


One of the strongest known association between human leukocyte antigen (HLA) phenotype and disease is that of ankylosing spondylitis and HLA-B27. Thus, the determination of HLA-B27 status is an useful tool in the diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis. To date, the 2 reference methods for HLA typing (microlymphocytotoxicity and molecular biology techniques), are costly in terms of both technician time and materials, and require a great deal of experience. In total, these techniques are not well-suited for routine application in clinical immunology laboratories. Use of flow cytometry has recently been applied for HLA-B27 typing. Nevertheless, it requires an extensive validation protocol. We developed a flow cytometry technique as standardized as possible (whole blood, automated lysing system, automated photomultiplier voltage calibration, definition of thresholds stable with time) and validated our results by comparison with microlymphocytotoxicity. In total, 326 samples were analyzed. We found 99% of concordant results between the 2 techniques, and neither false positive results nor false negative results with flow cytometry could be observed. These results illustrate the reliability of the protocol. It should be remembered that reference technique remains necessary to confirm the few results (< 1%) found in "grey zone" by flow cytometry. Standardization of flow cytometry techniques, as described in this work for HLA B27, seems to be a reasonable goal for the next decade in clinical immunology laboratories.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Automation / methods
  • Automation / standards
  • Cytotoxicity Tests, Immunologic / methods*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry / methods*
  • Flow Cytometry / standards
  • HLA-B27 Antigen / blood*
  • HLA-B27 Antigen / genetics
  • Histocompatibility Testing / methods*
  • Histocompatibility Testing / standards
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenotype
  • Quality Control
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / diagnosis
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / immunology


  • HLA-B27 Antigen