The treatment of choice for certain immunodeficiency syndromes and hematological disorders is bone marrow transplantation (BMT). The success of BMT is influenced by the degree of HLA compatibility between recipient and donor. However, aberrant expression of HLA sometimes makes it difficult, if not impossible, to determine the patient's HLA type by standard serological and cellular techniques. We describe here the application of new molecular biological techniques to perform high resolution HLA typing independent of HLA expression. A patient with HLA-deficient severe combined deficiency was HLA typed using in vitro amplification of the HLA genes and sequence-specific oligonucleotide probe hybridization (SSOPH). Two major advances provided by this technology are:detection of HLA polymorphism at the level of single amino acid differences; and elimination of a requirement for HLA expression. Although the patient's lymphocytes lacked class II HLA proteins, polymorphism associated with DR7,w53;DQw2;DRw11a (a split of DR5), w52b (a split of DRw52);DQw7 were identified. The patient's class I expression was partially defective, and typing was accomplished by a combination of serological (HLA-A and -C) and SSOPH analysis (HLA-B). Complete patient haplotypes were predicted after typing of family members [A2;B35(w6); Cw4; DRw11a(w52b);DQw7 and A2;B13(w4); Cw6;DR7(w53); DQw2]. Potential unrelated donors were typed and a donor was selected for BMT.
L A Baxter-Lowe, J B Hunter, J T Casper, J Gorski