Molecular Testing

HLA antigens/alleles are identified by molecular testing methods. The results of this testing contribute to the selection of a suitable (compatible) donor for a patient in need of a transplant. HLA matching at the allele (high resolution) level is especially critical to the success of hematopoietic stem cell transplants and is needed to reduce the risk of graft vs. host disease. Alternative uses of HLA antigen/allele identification include disease association (HLA-B27 in ankylosing spondylitis, HLA-DQB2 and/or HLA-DQB8 in celiac disease) and pharmacogenomics (risk factor for untoward drug reaction with Abacavir in HIV-patients who are positive for HLA-B*57:01).

Antibody Identification

HLA class I and II antibodies may develop in patients with a history of previous transplantation, pregnancy, or blood transfusions and complicate the search for a compatible donor. Screening and identification of HLA antibodies is performed using Luminex single antigen (LSA) beads and facilitates virtual cross-matching where HLA antibodies identified in the patient are compared to mismatched HLA antigens in the donor to determine if a potential incompatibility (antibody antigen interaction) exists and thus help select a compatible donor. HLA antibody identification performed post-transplant aids in the detection of donor specific antibodies (DSA) that are a risk factor for antibody mediated rejection. HLA class I antibody screening and identification is also useful in platelet refractory patients where HLA antibodies may be responsible for destroying donor platelets. Knowledge of the antibody specificity in this setting may facilitate the selection of compatible donor platelets.


Flow cytometry cross-matching utilizes recipient serum mixed with donor T and B lymphocytes and is performed in the setting of solid organ transplantation to reduce the risk of hyper-acute rejection caused by preformed donor specific HLA antibodies in the recipient directed against donor HLA antigens. This test is performed prior to transplantation in all kidney and pancreas transplant patients and upon physician request in heart and lung transplant patients when the recipient has HLA antibodies (sensitized) and there is significant concern for hyper-acute rejection.

The histocompatibility lab is accredited by the American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (ASHI) and College of American Pathologists (CAP).


Immunomolecular Pathology Lab, Room HA-629 Chandler Medical Center


Fritz E. Lower, MD
Director of Histocompatability

C. Darrell Jennings, MD
Associate Director of Histocompatibility

Charles Lutz, MD, PhD
Associate Director of Histocompatibility

Alexander Fenwick, MD
Assistant Professor


John May
Chief Technologist, Histocompatibility and Flow Cytometry


HLA molecular typing, HLA antibody screening and identification by Luminex, flow cytometry cross-matching.