Author(s): Schlaf G, PollokKopp B, Altermann WW
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Abstract Transplant recipients who have had sensitizing events such as pregnancies, blood transfusions and previous transplants often develop antibodies directed against human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-molecules of the donor tissue. These pre-formed donor-specific antibodies (DSA) represent a high risk of organ failure as a consequence of antibody-mediated hyper-acute or acute allograft rejection. As a first assay to detect DSA, the complement-dependent lymphocytotoxicity assay (CDC) was established more than 40 years ago. However, this assay is characterized by several drawbacks such as a low sensitivity and a high susceptibility to various artificial factors generally not leading to valid and reliable outcomes under several circumstances that are reviewed in this article. Furthermore, only those antibodies that exert complement-fixing activity are detected. As a consequence, novel procedures that act independently of the complement system and that do not represent functional assays were generated in the format of solid phase assays (SPAs) (bead- or ELISA-based). In this article, we review the pros and cons of these sensitive SPA in comparison with the detection of DSA through the use of the traditional methods such as CDC and flow cytometric analyses. Potential drawbacks of the alternative methodological approaches comprising high background reactivity, susceptibility to environmental factors and the possible influence of subjective operators' errors concerning the interpretation of the results are summarized and critically discussed for each method. We provide a forecast on the future role of SPAs reliably excluding highly deleterious DSA, thus leading to an improved graft survival.
This article was published in Mol Diagn Ther
and referenced in Journal of Microbial & Biochemical Technology