Detection and analysis of HLA class I and class II specific alloantibodies in the sera of dialysis recipients waiting for a renal retransplantation

Sergio Barocci, Umberto Valente, Arcangelo Nocera
Clinical Transplantation 2007, 21 (1): 47-56
The objective of this study was to evaluate the specificities of HLA class I (-A,-B) and class II (-DR,-DQ) antibodies (Ab) detected in the sera of alloimmunized patients waiting for a subsequent renal transplantation. The study group consisted of 62 dialysis patients (42 men and 20 women, mean age: 43 +/- 18 yr) on waiting list for a subsequent kidney transplant (52 for a second and 10 for a third transplant) at S. Martino Hospital Transplant Centre in Genoa/Italy, who were enrolled from 2002 to 2004 for HLA antibody screening. Complement dependent cytotoxicity (CDC) technique was used firstly to select anti-HLA class I sensitized patients; indeed sera from 50 individuals out of 62 (80.6%) were found to display persistent HLA class I PRA (panel reactive antibody) values >4% (range: 20-100). ELISA technique was subsequently adopted to analyze HLA class I Ab positive sera for the presence also of HLA class II Ab and to characterize class I and class II Ab specificities. Anti-class I immunized patients were divided in three groups according to the type of class I Ab specificities, that were classified as private, public, and multispecific. The first group included 35 patients (70% of the total number of positive patients) showing only antibodies directed against private HLA class I specificities, represented in 33 cases by those expressed by graft donors (first or second transplant). In this group anti-class I PRA% values ranged from 20% to 60%. HLA class II Ab, with an heterogeneous specificity pattern (private, public or multispecific), were present in 25 (78.1%) out of the 32 patients, whose sera were also available for this analysis. The second group comprised 12 patients (24%) who displayed antibodies directed against class I public epitopes belonging to CREGs (Cross reactive Groups) or an association of anti-private and anti-public antibodies. In this group PRA values ranged from 25% to 90%. Five patients (46.7%) were positive for HLA class II Ab, whose specificity pattern appeared also heterogeneous (private or multispecific). The third group was represented by three patients (6%) displaying multispecific antibodies with PRA values > or = 90%. No multispecific class II Ab were found in this group, where only two patients had class II Ab showing anti-private or anti-private plus public specificities. Globally, 74% of anti-class I Ab positive patients, having at least one HLA class II antigen mismatch, appeared also positive for class II Ab. These results indicate that: (i) a large proportion of patients, waiting for a kidney retransplantation, display in their sera alloantibodies specific for graft mismatched HLA class I (80.6%) and class II antigens (54.2); (ii) the immunogenic determinants, mainly involved in HLA class I and II specific Ab production, were, in a significant rate, private specificities of mismatched HLA antigens (70% for class I and 59.4% for class II), and in a lesser percentage by public (CREG) epitopes (24% for class I and 34.3% for class II). In a few patients only no HLA class I and class II Ab specificities could be determined, as they displayed multispecific antibodies (6% for class I and 6.2% for class II). These findings may have important implications to improve donor-recipient matching in dialysis recipients waiting for a subsequent renal transplantation.

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