Non-HLA antibodies post-transplantation: clinical relevance and treatment in solid organ transplantation

Contrib Nephrol. 2009;162:129-39. doi: 10.1159/000170845. Epub 2008 Oct 31.


Antibodies and B cells are increasingly recognized as major modulators of allograft function and survival. Improved immunohistochemical and serologic diagnostic procedures have been developed to monitor antibody responses against HLA antigens during the last decade. Acute and chronic allograft rejection can occur in HLA-identical sibling transplants implicating the importance of immune response against non-HLA targets. Non-HLA anti-bodies may occur as alloantiboides, yet they seem to be predominantly autoantibodies. Antigenic targets of non-HLA antibodies described thus far include various minor histocompatibility antigens, vascular receptors, adhesion molecules, and intermediate filaments. Non-HLA antibodies may function as complement- and non-complement-fixing antibodies and they may induce a wide variety of allograft injuries, reflecting the complexity of their acute and chronic actions. Refined approaches considering the subtle mechanistic differences in the individual antibody responses directed against non-HLA antigens may help to define patients at particular risk for irreversible acute or chronic allograft injuries and improve over-all outcomes. We attempted to summarize the current state of research, development in diagnostic and therapeutic strategies, and to address some emerging problems in the area of humoral response against non-HLA antigens beyond ABO blood group and MHC class I chain-related gene A and B (MICA and MICB) antigens in solid organ transplantation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • Autoantibodies / immunology
  • Endothelial Cells / immunology*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Humans
  • Organ Transplantation*
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1 / immunology*
  • Transplantation Immunology*
  • Vimentin / immunology*


  • Autoantibodies
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1
  • Vimentin