In organ transplantation the main target of the immune response is the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) which is expressed on the surface of donor cells. During an allograft transplant, donor MHC antigens are recognized by the graft recipient’s immune system triggering an immune response. Histocompatibility testing of donor and recipient tissues for MHC antigens can be predictive of outcome and have a positive effect on graft acceptance.
The Immune Evaluation Laboratory at Baylor College of Medicine is a reference lab for solid organ transplants (kidney, heart, pancreas, liver and lung) performed in the Texas Medical Center. The lab is responsible for all pre-transplant histocompatibility testing of new end-stage patients to identify their HLA antigens (the human MHC) and determine the degree of their pre-transplant immune reactivity towards possible donor antigens. Studies are underway to determine the identity of clinically relevant HLA and non-HLA antibodies and their role in graft rejection.