Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA) are highly polymorphic glycoproteins and represent some of the most potent alloantigens in humans. Approximately 33% of individuals will develop antibodies to HLA as the result of pregnancy, transfusion or allograph transplantation. In a patient, these antibodies can cause destruction of transfused platelets and transplanted allografts. The presence of HLA antibodies in transfused blood products has recently come under great scrutiny. Several reports have implicated Class I and Class II HLA antibodies in Transfusion-Related Acute Lung Injury (TRALI) and TRALI-like transfusion reactions.

TRALI is a syndrome that is described as a spectrum of clinical symptoms that occur very rapidly (usually within 1-2 hours) following transfusion with blood products. It is most associated with transfusion of whole blood, packed red blood cells and fresh frozen plasma. Apheresis platelets, platelet concentrates, cryoprecipitate and even IVIG have also been implicated in causing TRALI. Occurring in a small number of patients that receive blood products, it is thought to be under-reported; however, it remains the leading cause of transfusion-related death reported to the Food and Drug Administration.

Screening for HLA antibodies in patient or donor sera has now been made available to the laboratory in one convenient kit called ™DonorScreen-HLA available through GTI Diagnostics. This new kit combines the performance of GTI Diagnostics' QuikScreen® and B-Screen® ELISA kits with QuickStep, an automated ELISA processing instrument.