HLA-specific antibody, present before or after transplantation, may adversely effect graft outcome. Antibody testing by cytotoxicity (CYT) is laborious, requires viable lymphocytes, does not differentiate non-HLA cytotoxic antibody, and cannot be used readily on specimens from patients being treated with cytotoxic antibodies. We have evaluated PRA-STAT, an antibody screening kit that uses an ELISA test with soluble HLA class I molecules as targets. We performed 219 tests on a variety of serum specimens, 128 of which were also tested by CYT. There was a highly significant correlation (r=0.78, P<0.001) between PRA-STAT (PS) and CYT for the detection of IgG antibodies. Of 66 sera reactive in both assays, 18% had identical specificities defined in both, 27% were more reactive in PS than in CYT, 8% were more reactive in CYT, and 47% had different specificities in the 2 assays, with overlap in slightly more than half the cases. Of 13 sera reactive only in PS, 2 were from non-transfused, nontransplanted males with no evidence of lymphocyte-reac-tive antibody by antiglobulin tests. PS uses an IgG-specific conjugate, therefore IgM class I-specific antibodies cannot be identified—however, their presence does affect test outcome. This, as well as the panel composition and interlot reproducibility, are areas we believe need to be addressed. The PRA-STAT system is rapid, does not require viable cells or complement, and can be automated in part. Resolution of the problems identified here and availability of an IgM-specific conjugate should make this test system a valuable tool in histocompatibility testing.
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