Complement-Dependent Cytotoxicity (CDC) to Detect Anti-HLA Antibodies: Old but Gold

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The criterion (gold) standard to detect anti-human leukocyte antigen (HLA) antibodies is the complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC) assay. Recently, more sensitive methods have been used for the same purpose.


This study analyzed 70 serum samples of patients with end-stage renal disease using CDC, CDC with the addition of anti-human globulin (CDC-AHG), CDC with the addition of dithiothreitol (CDC-DTT), and the recent solid-phase immunoassay (SPI; Labscreen PRA) to detect anti-HLA antibodies.


Mean percent panel reactive antibodies (PRA) detected by SPI was 37.5% (±34.2) higher than the values detected by the other methods. Comparative analyses revealed significant difference between CDC and CDC-AHG, and between CDC and SPI (P < 0.0001), but not between CDC-AHG and SPI (P = 0.8026).


Although the CDC-AHG method is “old,” its performance to detect anti-HLA antibodies in the samples analyzed was comparable to the SPI in the evaluation of percent class I PRA.

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