Application of HLA-DR oligotyping to 110 kidney transplant patients with doubtful serological typing

Transplantation. 1991 May;51(5):1110-4. doi: 10.1097/00007890-199105000-00034.


In renal transplantation a good HLA-DR match is associated with a higher success rate of graft outcome. However, due to a number of technical problems, reliable serological DR typing cannot always be obtained, and the very large number of HLA-DR alleles now discovered renders such DR matching more difficult. In view of the medical importance of HLA class II polymorphism in transplantation immunology, we have developed a simple HLA-DR oligotyping procedure on PCR-amplified DNA, by hybridization with 14 synthetic oligonucleotide probes able to recognize all major HLA-DR specificities. In particular, the probes used in this study allow the unambiguous discrimination of the DRw11, w12, w13, w14-Dw9 specificities or of rare alleles such as DR-Br or DRw13-DwHAG, which are very often difficult or impossible to identify by serology. In order to explore the potential of this methodology, we have analyzed by oligotyping 110 kidney transplant patients with doubtful or unreliable serological assignment, or with DR blank alleles. Comparison between serology and oligotyping shows that in 66.3% of the patients we observed an excellent correlation. About half these patients are homozygotes, as ultimately verified by RFLP typing. In 26.4% of the patients however, at least one HLA-DR antigen was discrepant, and in 7.3% of the cases oligotyping resolved uninterpretable serology. Almost all of the discrepancies were due to errors in allele assignment within the DRw52 group, mostly in the case of DRw13 alleles. This study confirms the expected qualitative advantage of the oligotyping technique and its simplicity as compared with the RFLP DNA typing procedure. Large scale application of the oligotyping methodology will therefore be beneficial to optimize HLA-DR matching in organ transplantation, particularly in high responders with first kidney graft rejection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • HLA-DR Antigens / classification*
  • HLA-DR Antigens / genetics
  • Histocompatibility Testing
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligonucleotide Probes
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length


  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • Oligonucleotide Probes