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Influence of HLA-A, HLA-B, and HLA-DR matching on rejection of random corneal grafts using corneal tissue for retrospective DNA HLA typing
  1. Marjolijn C Bartelsa,
  2. Henderikus G Ottenb,
  3. B Elske van Gelderenc,
  4. Allegonda Van der Lelijd
  1. aDepartment of Ophthalmology, University Hospital Rotterdam, Netherlands, bDepartment of Medical Immunology, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Netherlands, cDepartment of Ophthalmo-Immunology, The Netherlands Ophthalmic Research Institute, Amsterdam, Netherlands, dDepartment of Ophthalmology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Netherlands
  1. Dr M C Bartels, Department of Ophthalmology, University Hospital Rotterdam, PO Box 2040, 3000 CA Rotterdam, Netherlandsbartels{at}


AIM To establish if coincidental HLA-A, HLA-B, and HLA-DR tissue matching is associated with a reduced likelihood of corneal graft rejection.

METHODS Organ culture preserved random donor corneas were used for penetrating keratoplasty (PKP). Corneal tissue from all graft recipients and donors or blood samples from recipients after repeated transplantation were obtained in order to perform retrospective molecular HLA typing. A group of 21 recipients with a rejection episode (cases) after corneal transplantation was compared with a control group of non-rejectors (n = 43). 31 graft recipients were considered as high risk patients. The influence of HLA-A, HLA-B, and HLA-DR matching on rejection free graft survival time was analysed with Kaplan-Meyer statistics and Cox regression.

RESULTS A prolonged rejection free survival time was observed in graft recipients with one or two HLA-A matches (log rank test, p = 0.034). This effect was also observed in high risk graft recipients with one or two HLA-DR matches (log rank test, p = 0.030).

CONCLUSIONS Coincidental HLA-A and HLA-DR matches were observed and associated with a prolonged rejection free survival time in the total group and in the high risk group, respectively. These results support the beneficial effect of prospective HLA-A and HLA-DR typing upon corneal graft survival.

  • cornea
  • rejection
  • HLA antigens
  • DNA typing

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