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Transfusion. 2019 Jul 22. doi: 10.1111/trf.15454. [Epub ahead of print]

Fast and low-cost direct ELISA for high-throughput serological HPA-1a typing.

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Department of Obstetrics, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Department of Experimental Immunohematology, Sanquin, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Department of Immunohematology Diagnostics, Sanquin, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Fetal and neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (FNAIT) is caused by maternal alloantibodies against fetal human platelet antigens (HPAs), mostly caused by anti-HPA-1a. Population-based screening for FNAIT is still a topic of debate. Logistically and financially, the major challenge for implementation is the typing of pregnant women to recognize the 2% HPA-1a-negative women. Therefore, there is need for a high-throughput and low-cost HPA-1a-typing assay.


A sandwich ELISA was developed, using a monoclonal anti-GPIIIa as coating antibody and horseradish-peroxidase-conjugated recombinant anti-HPA-1a, as detecting antibody. The ELISA results were compared to an allelic discrimination PCR-assay. In phase I, samples from unselected consecutive pregnant women were tested with both assays. Phase II was part of a prospective screening study in pregnancy and genotyping was restricted to samples with an arbitrary set, OD < 0.500.


The ELISA was optimized to require no additional handling (swirling or spinning) of stored tubes. During phase I, 506 samples were tested. In phase II, another 62,171 consecutive samples were phenotyped, with supportive genotyping in 1,902. In total 1,585 HPA-1a negative and 823 HPA-1a positive women were genotyped. The assay reached 100% sensitivity with a cut-off OD from 0.160, corresponding with a 99.9% specificity and a false-HPA-1a negative rate of 0.03.


A high-throughput, low-cost, and reliable HPA-1a phenotyping assay was developed which can be used in population-based screening to select samples for testing of presence of anti-HPA-1a. Because plasma from tubes of 3- to 6-days-old samples can be used, this assay is applicable to settings with suboptimal conditions.


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