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Transfusion. 2000 Dec;40(12):1446-56.

Selecting donors of platelets for refractory patients on the basis of HLA antibody specificity.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and of Biomathematics and the Immunogenetics Center, UCLA Medical Center.



Patients who are refractory to platelet transfusion as a result of HLA alloimmunization are generally given HLA-matched or crossmatched platelets. However, HLA-matched platelets that are matched at HLA-A and -B loci (A-matched) or those without any mismatched or cross-reactive antigens (BU-matched) are frequently unavailable. A disadvantage of crossmatching is that crossmatched platelets have a shelf life of only 5 days, so that crossmatch tests must be performed frequently for patients requiring long-term platelet transfusions. An alternative method is the selection of platelets according to the patient's HLA antibody specificity, called the antibody specificity prediction (ASP) method.


An anti-human globulin-enhanced microlymphocytotoxicity test modified by a double addition of serum and a computer program were used to determine the specificity of patients' HLA antibodies. Platelet crossmatching was performed with a solid-phase adherence assay. The percentage of platelet recovery (PPR) was determined in 1621 platelet transfusions in an observational study in 114 patients, and the PPR of platelets selected by the ASP method was compared with the PPR of those that were HLA-matched, crossmatched, or randomly selected. The numbers of potential donors in files of HLA-typed donors as identified by HLA matching vs. the ASP method were determined.


After adjustments for covariates, the mean +/- SEM PPR was similar for HLA-matched (21 +/-4%), cross-matched (23+/-4%), and ASP-selected (24+/-3%) platelets and was significantly lower for randomly selected (15+/-1.4%) platelets. For 29 alloimmunized HLA-typed patients, the mean number of potential donors found in a file of 7247 HLA-typed donors was 6 who were an HLA-A match (median = 1), 33 who were an HLA-BU match (median = 20), and 1426 who were identified by the ASP method (median = 1365).


The ASP method of donor selection for refractory alloimmunized patients appears as effective as HLA matching or crossmatching. Far more donors are identified in a file of HLA-typed donors by the ASP method than by HLA matching, and this indicates that the ASP method provides important advantages regarding the availability of compatible platelet components.

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