Repository for Antibody Incompatible Transplantation Evidence

RAITE Evidence Alert

The RAITE Evidence Alert provides a regular overview of the most important new publications on antibody incompatible transplantation evidence.
Register to receive the free RAITE Evidence Alert by email.

August 2022

New high-level evidence publications
  • Jatana SS
  • Zhao H
  • Bow LM
  • Cozzi E
  • Batal I
  • et al.
Transplantation. 2023 Jan 1;107(1):231-253 doi: 10.1097/TP.0000000000004262.

There is no standard definition for "HLA incompatible" transplants. For the first time, we systematically assessed how HLA incompatibility was defined in contemporary peer-reviewed publications and its prognostic implication to transplant outcomes.


We combined 2 independent searches of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library from 2015 to 2019. Content-expert reviewers screened for original research on outcomes of HLA-incompatible transplants (defined as allele or molecular mismatch and solid-phase or cell-based assays). We ascertained the completeness of reporting on a predefined set of variables assessing HLA incompatibility, therapies, and outcomes. Given significant heterogeneity, we conducted narrative synthesis and assessed risk of bias in studies examining the association between death-censored graft failure and HLA incompatibility.


Of 6656 screened articles, 163 evaluated transplant outcomes by HLA incompatibility. Most articles reported on cytotoxic/flow T-cell crossmatches (n = 98). Molecular genotypes were reported for selected loci at the allele-group level. Sixteen articles reported on epitope compatibility. Pretransplant donor-specific HLA antibodies were often considered (n = 143); yet there was heterogeneity in sample handling, assay procedure, and incomplete reporting on donor-specific HLA antibodies assignment. Induction (n = 129) and maintenance immunosuppression (n = 140) were frequently mentioned but less so rejection treatment (n = 72) and desensitization (n = 70). Studies assessing death-censored graft failure risk by HLA incompatibility were vulnerable to bias in the participant, predictor, and analysis domains.


Optimization of transplant outcomes and personalized care depends on accurate HLA compatibility assessment. Reporting on a standard set of variables will help assess generalizability of research, allow knowledge synthesis, and facilitate international collaboration in clinical trials.

  • Pandey P
  • Kumari S
  • Mandal S
  • Sinha VK
  • Devra AK
  • et al.
Transpl Immunol. 2022 Oct;74:101656 doi: 10.1016/j.trim.2022.101656.

Advances in immune suppression therapies and desensitization have made possible kidney transplantation regardless of HLA incompatibility. Single antigen bead assay (SAB) is a semi-quantitative estimation of the amount of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) antibodies present in the recipient plasma, and mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) generated gives this rough estimation of the antibodies present in the recipient. Here we present a case of successful kidney transplantation in a patient who expressed DSA with high MFI. A 33-yr-old male, diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (CKD) on regular maintenance hemodialysis, opted for second kidney transplant with his sibling as prospective donor and was referred to the department of Transplant Immunology for histocompatibility testing. Patient had HLA incompatibility with multiple DSA identified by SAB. Patient undergone 20 sessions of plasma exchange till discharge and finally till 6 months graft was functioning well. The authors thus conclude that the option of a high-risk HLA incompatible kidney transplant can be offered to recipients with high MFI DSA, who wish to undergo transplantation for end stage renal disease.

  • Bockermann R
  • Järnum S
  • Runström A
  • Lorant T
  • Winstedt L
  • et al.
Transplantation. 2022 Jul 1;106(7):1485-1496 doi: 10.1097/TP.0000000000004031.

Imlifidase is an immunoglobulin G (IgG)-specific protease conditionally approved in the EU for desensitization in highly sensitized crossmatch positive kidney transplant patients. Imlifidase efficiently cleaves both heavy chains of IgG in a 2-step process. However, low levels of the intermediate cleavage product, single-cleaved IgG (scIgG), may persist in the circulation. The study objective was to investigate Fc-mediated effector functions of scIgG and its potential impact on common clinical immunologic assays used to assess transplant eligibility.


Imlifidase-generated scIgG, obtained by in vitro cleavage of HLA-sensitized patient serum or selected antibodies, was investigated in different complement- and FcγR-dependent assays and models, including clinical tests used to evaluate HLA-specific antibodies.


ScIgG had significantly reduced Fc-mediated effector function compared with intact IgG, although some degree of activity in complement- and FcγR-dependent models was still detectable. A preparation of concentrated scIgG generated from a highly HLA-sensitized individual gave rise to a positive signal in the anti-HLA IgG LABScreen, which uses anti-Fc detection, but was entirely negative in the C1qScreen. The same high-concentration HLA-binding scIgG preparation also generated positive complement-dependent cytotoxicity responses against 80%-100% of donor T and B cells, although follow-up titrations demonstrated a much lower intrinsic activity than for intact anti-HLA IgG.


ScIgG has a significantly reduced capacity to mediate Fc-dependent effector functions. However, remaining HLA-reactive scIgG in plasma after imlifidase treatment can cause positive assay results equivalent to intact IgG in clinical assays. Therefore, complete IgG cleavage after imlifidase treatment is essential to allow correct decision-making in relation to transplant eligibility.

  • Lee H
  • Min JW
  • Kang H
  • Lee H
  • Eum SH
  • et al.
Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jul 1;23(13) doi: 10.3390/ijms23137357.

We investigated whether HLA class II eplet mismatch was related to dnDSA development and analyzed its combined impact with tacrolimus levels for kidney transplantation outcomes. A total of 347 kidney transplants were included. HLA Matchmaker was used for the single molecular eplet, total eplet, antibody (Ab)-verified eplet mismatch analyses, and Ab-verified single molecular analysis to identify HLA-DR/DQ molecular thresholds for the risk of dnDSA development. A time-weighted tacrolimus trough level (TAC-C0) of 5 ng/mL and a TAC-C0 time-weighted coefficient variability (TWCV) of 20% were applied to find the combined effects on dnDSA development. A high level of mismatch for single molecular eplet (DQ ≥ 10), total eplet (DQ ≥ 12), Ab-verified eplet (DQ ≥ 4), and Ab-verified single molecular eplet (DQ ≥ 4) significantly correlated with HLA class II dnDSA development. Class II dnDSA developed mostly in patients with low TAC-C0 and high eplet mismatch. In the multivariable analyses, low TAC-C0 and high eplet mismatch showed the highest hazard ratio for the development of dnDSA. No significant combined effect was observed in dnDSA development according to TWCV. In conclusion, the determination of HLA class II eplet mismatch may improve the risk stratification for dnDSA development, especially in conjunction with tacrolimus trough levels.

  • Thammanichanond D
  • Tammakorn C
  • Ingsathit A
  • Worawichawong S
  • Sangkum P
BMC Nephrol. 2022 May 17;23(1):187 doi: 10.1186/s12882-022-02807-6.

Patients who are HLA-sensitized are at high risk for early antibody-mediated rejection (AMR) and worse outcomes. Therefore, it is crucial to detect the presence of donor-specific antibodies (DSAs) using pretransplant antibody identification and crossmatch assays. An error in antibody identification can lead to disastrous clinical outcomes. We present a case of acute AMR associated with preformed HLA-DPα and HLA-DPβ DSAs that were not identified before transplantation.


A 27-year-old woman received a second kidney transplant from a deceased donor. Her pretransplant panel-reactive antibody level was 94%. The complement-dependent cytotoxicity crossmatch was negative for T and B cells at the time of transplantation. She experienced early acute AMR proven by a kidney biopsy. Single antigen bead testing of the patient's serum at the time of rejection as well as the pre-second transplant serum revealed strong antibodies against the DPA1*01:03 and DPB1*02:01 alleles in the second donor. These antibodies were not identified by phenotypic bead assay during the patient's time on the waiting list. The patient was treated with plasmapheresis and anti-thymocyte globulin. However, she experienced abdominal pain on day 37 post-transplantation. Surgical exploration revealed a laceration on the transplanted kidney, which was then repaired. Subsequently, infected hematoma was suspected and the transplanted kidney was removed.


The present case highlights the clinical significance of preformed HLA-DPα and HLA-DPβ DSAs. Accuracy in determination of HLA antibodies before transplantattion is critical for transplant outcome. HLA-DP typing and single antigen bead testing are recommended for a precise antibody interpretation, especially in highly sensitized patients. Careful interpretation of antibody testing results is essential for the success of organ transplantation.

  • Phillpott M
  • Daga S
  • Higgins R
  • Lowe D
  • Krishnan N
  • et al.
Transpl Int. 2022 Apr 11;35:10128 doi: 10.3389/ti.2022.10128.

In HLA-incompatible kidney transplantation, monitoring donor-specific antibodies (DSA) plays a crucial role in providing appropriate treatment and increases kidney survival times. This work aimed to determine if early post-transplant DSA dynamics inform graft outcome over and above other predictive factors. Eighty-eight cases were classified by unsupervised machine learning into five distinct DSA response groups: no response, fast modulation, slow modulation, rise to sustained and sustained. Fast modulation dynamics gave an 80% rate for early acute rejection, whereas the sustained group was associated with the lowest rejection rates (19%). In complete contrast, the five-year graft failure was lowest in the modulation groups (4-7%) and highest in the sustained groups (25-31%). Multivariable analysis showed that a higher pre-treatment DSA level, male gender and absence of early acute rejection were strongly associated with a sustained DSA response. The modulation group had excellent five-year outcomes despite higher rates of early rejection episodes. This work further develops an understanding of post-transplant DSA dynamics and their influence on graft survival following HLA-incompatible kidney transplantation.