HLA-specific B cells: II. Application to transplantation

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Journal Article

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Allosensitization; B Cells; HLA Antibody; HLA Tetramers


BACKGROUND. Differences in the antibody response to allogeneic transplantation exist between groups defined by race or gender. These differences may reflect differences in immune competency and/or exposure to alloantigens. We have investigated the frequencies and phenotypes of HLA-specific B cells to address those possibilities. METHODS. HLA-specific B cells were identified by staining with HLA tetramers (tet) as described previously and the distribution of CD27 and CD38 among those cells were measured in groups defined by various parameters. Possible correlation between frequencies of HLA-specific B cells and production of HLA-specific antibody after transplantation was also investigated. RESULTS. We found no correlation between the frequencies of CD27+tet+ (33%-44% vs. 34%-36%) or CD38+tet+ (57%-65% vs. 59%-66%) B cells and a previous mismatch for the HLA antigen of the tetramer. However, there was an increase in CD38+tet+ B cells among patients making antibody to the tetramer antigen (67%-72% vs. 53%-56%). Blacks had lower frequencies of CD27+ B cells than did whites (11.8% vs. 28.9%, P=0.003), but had greater increases of these cells among tet+ cells than did whites. There was a higher frequency of tet+ B cells among patients who developed "new" antibody to the HLA antigen (3.9%-8.6%) of the tetramer after transplantation than among those who did not (1.1%-3.7%). CONCLUSIONS. The phenotype of HLA-specific B cells reflects current or historic sensitization to HLA and may reflect inherent differences between groups defined by race and/or gender. The frequencies of HLA-specific B cells may predict patients at risk for production of donor-specific antibody after transplantation. © 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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