Clinical utility of serial serum dilutions for HLA antibody interpretation

Anat R. Tambur, Carrie Schinstock

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Luminex single antigen bead (SAB) testing has increased the sensitivity and specificity of accurately identifying HLA antibodies, in support of all organ transplantation. However, as described in manufacturers' recommendation, the output of the assay, using mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) units, is only semi-quantitative. Therefore, the ability to use MFI values to compare between different assays, to accurately guide clinical practice, or be used as an endpoint measure in clinical trials, is limited. To improve potential quantification, one must circumvent inherent limitations of SAB assays such as interference and saturation phenomena. In this review, we discuss how measurement of pre-transplant serum dilutions can be used to determine unacceptable antigens for wait-listing, determine the likelihood for successful HLA antibody reduction with desensitization, and compare degree of HLA (in)compatibility among various living donors. We also discuss how serum dilutions are optimal for measuring and comparing the efficacy of antibody depletion therapies for desensitization or antibody mediated rejection treatment post-transplant. Historically, one of the main criticisms for the use of serum dilutions and titer has been the potential labor and cost associated with additional testing. Here, we show how only one or two dilutions can add major value in most circumstances. In summary, the practical use of serum dilutions and titer determination are important methods that can be used before and after transplantation of all organs to quantify antibody accurately and reliably in routine practice and in clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-468
Number of pages12
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • HLA antibody
  • SAB
  • dilutions
  • titer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Genetics


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