HLA-DQ Mismatches Lead to More Unacceptable Antigens, Greater Sensitization, and Increased Disparities in Repeat Transplant Candidates

J Am Soc Nephrol. 2022 Dec;33(12):2293-2305. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2022030296. Epub 2022 Aug 31.


Background: In single-center studies, HLA-DQ mismatches stimulate the most pathogenic donor-specific antibodies. However, because of limitations of transplant registries, this cannot be directly confirmed with registry-based analyses.

Methods: We evaluated patients in the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients who were relisted after renal graft failure with new, unacceptable antigens corresponding to the HLA typing of their previous donor (UA-PD) as a proxy for donor-specific antibodies. Linear regression was applied to estimate the effects of HLA mismatches on UA-PD and the effects of UA-PD on calculated panel reactive antibody (cPRA) values for 4867 kidney recipients from 2010 to 2021.

Results: Each additional HLA-DQ mismatch increased the probability of UA-PD by 25.2% among deceased donor transplant recipients and by 28.9% among living donor transplant recipients, significantly more than all other HLA loci (P<0.05). HLA-DQ UA-PD increased cPRA by 29.0% in living donor transplant recipients and by 23.5% in deceased donor transplant recipients, significantly more than all loci except for HLA-A in deceased donor transplant recipients (23.1%). African American deceased donor transplant recipients were significantly more likely than Hispanic and White recipients to develop HLA-DQ UA-PD; among living donor transplant recipients, African American or Hispanic recipients were significantly more likely to do so compared with White recipients. Models evaluating interactions between HLA-DR/DQ mismatches revealed largely independent effects of HLA-DQ mismatches on HLA-DQ UA-PD.

Conclusions: HLA-DQ mismatches had the strongest associations with UA-PD, an effect that was greatest in African American and Hispanic recipients. cPRA increases with HLA-DQ UA-PD were equivalent or larger than any other HLA locus. This suggests a need to consider the effects of HLA-DQ in kidney allocation.

Keywords: cadaver organ transplantation; chronic rejection; end stage renal disease; kidney donation; kidney transplantation; organ transplant; renal transplantation; transplant outcomes; transplant pathology; transplantation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies
  • HLA-DQ Antigens / genetics
  • Humans
  • Living Donors
  • Transplant Recipients
  • Transplants*


  • Antibodies
  • HLA-DQ Antigens