Real-time PCR based HLA-B*27 screening directly in whole blood

HLA. 2020 Mar;95(3):189-195. doi: 10.1111/tan.13767. Epub 2019 Dec 1.


The linkage between the occurrence of human leucocyte antigen B*27 (HLA-B*27) and ankylosing spondylitis or other related spondyloarthritides is well documented. PCR based methods are widely used for HLA-B*27 screening. To refine HLA-B*27 testing we aimed at establishing a real-time PCR protocol to detect the HLA-B*27 allele directly in blood samples, without DNA extraction. HLA-B*27 analysis was performed by two real-time PCRs using TaqMan primer-probe assays for B*27 specific amplification of exon 2 or exon 3 of the HLA-B gene together with a mutant of Taq polymerase for direct blood PCR. Conditions for direct blood PCR were optimized and the reliability of the direct blood PCR protocol was evaluated by re-genotyping over 200 blood samples from patients who previously underwent routine DNA-based HLA-B*27 testing. Heating blood samples at 95°C for 10 minutes significantly improved PCR performance. Results from real-time PCR based HLA-B*27 testing directly in blood of over 200 patients were in 100% concordance with results obtained by routine DNA-based HLA-B*27 genotyping. In summary, we present a reliable real-time PCR protocol for HLA-B*27 screening directly in whole blood supporting fast clarification of the presence of ankylosing spondylitis or other spondyloarthritides in suspected cases.

Keywords: HLA-B*27; ankylosing spondylitis; direct blood PCR; real-time PCR.