Association between CTL precursor frequency to HLA-C mismatches and HLA-C antigen cell surface expression

Moshe Israeli, Dave L. Roelen, Mary Carrington, Effie Wang Petersdorf, Frans H.J. Claas, Geert W. Haasnoot, Machteld Oudshoorn

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17 Scopus citations


Previous studies showed the relevance of the cytotoxic T-cell precursor (CTLp) frequency assay for prediction of the outcome of HLA mismatched hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). Recently, it has been shown that HLA-C cell surface expression is correlated with virus specific cytotoxic T-cell responses and viremia control in HIV patients. The aim of the current study was to investigate the association between HLA-C antigen expression and the CTLp frequency to the mismatched HLA-C antigen. In total 115 recipient-donor pairs, for whom a successful CTLp assay was performed, were evaluated for this pilot study. All donor-recipient pairs were matched at 9/10 alleles with a single mismatch at the HLA-C locus. Antigen expression level of the mismatched HLA-C allele for each recipient and donor was based on the mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) values as described by Apps et al. (1). The cell surface expression of recipient's mismatched HLA-C antigen was significantly lower among CTLp negative (n = 59) compared to CTLp positive (n = 56) pairs (154 and 193 MFI units, respectively, p = 0.0031). This difference was more pronounced in donor-recipient pairs that were mismatched for amino-acid residue-116 located in the groove of the HLA-C antigen, suggesting that the importance of peptide binding in the allo-recognition. Furthermore, in the particular case of low expression of the recipient mismatched HLA-C antigen (MFI < 115), CTLp reactivity depended on HLA-C expression level in the donor, the median MFI of donor's mismatched HLA-C antigen was 114 in CTLp negative cases (n = 26), while in CTLp positive cases (n = 15) the median MFI of donor's HLA-C antigen was 193 (p = 0.0093). We conclude that the expression level of the donor and recipient mismatched HLA-C antigens affect CTLp outcome. HLA-C antigen expression levels in combination with the CTLp assay may prove useful for the prediction of the clinical outcome of HLA-C mismatched HCT.

Original languageEnglish
Article number547
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Issue numberOCT
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Israeli, Roelen, Carrington, Petersdorf, Claas, Haasnoot and Oudshoorn.


  • Allo-reactivity
  • CTLp assay
  • Cell surface expression
  • Cytotoxic T-cell precursor frequency
  • HLA-C


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