Virchows Archiv

, Volume 474, Issue 2, pp 139–147 | Cite as

HLA testing in the molecular diagnostic laboratory

  • Kathleen Madden
  • Devon Chabot-RichardsEmail author
Review and Perspectives


The human leukocyte antigen (HLA) system is a highly polymorphic family of genes involved in immunity and responsible for identifying self versus non-self. HLA typing is essential for solid organ and bone marrow transplantation as well as in non-transplant settings such as disease association and pharmacogenomics. Typing of HLA genes differs from most molecular testing as, rather than evaluating differences from an accepted “wild-type” gene, it must distinguish between thousands of similar, but distinct alleles. This article will describe the HLA system and nomenclature. We will then discuss clinical uses of HLA typing including solid organ transplantation, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, evaluation of platelet refractory patients, disease association, and pharmacogenetics. Finally, we describe common molecular methods of HLA typing.


Molecular HLA Transplantation Immunogenetics SSO SSP 


Authors contributions

Both authors contributed significantly to the writing and preparation of this manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

The manuscript is an original work of all authors. All authors made a significant contribution to this study. All authors have read and approved the final version of the manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueMexico

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