Data_Sheet_1_Characterization of the C1q-Binding Ability and the IgG1-4 Subclass Profile of Preformed Anti-HLA Antibodies by Solid-Phase Assays.docx

Humoral alloimmunity, particularly that triggered by preformed antibodies against human leukocyte antigens (HLA), is associated with an increased prevalence of rejection and reduced transplant survival. The high sensitivity of solid phase assays, based on microbeads coated with single antigens (SAB), consolidated them as the gold-standard method to characterize anti-HLA antibodies, ensuring a successful allograft allocation. Mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) provided by SAB is regularly used to stratify the immunological risk, assuming it as a reliable estimation of the antibody-level, but it is often limited by artifacts. Beyond MFI, other properties, such as the complement-binding ability or the IgG1-4 subclass profile have been examined to more accurately define the clinical relevance of antibodies and clarify their functional properties. However, there are still unresolved issues. Neat serum-samples from 20 highly-sensitized patients were analyzed by SAB-panIgG, SAB-IgG1-4 subclass and SAB-C1q assays. All 1:16 diluted serum-samples were additionally analyzed by SAB-panIgG and SAB-IgG1-4 subclass assays. A total of 1,285 anti-HLA antibodies were identified as positive, 473 (36.8%) of which were C1q-binding. As expected, serum-dilution enhanced the correlation between the C1q-binding ability and the antibody-strength, measured as the MFI (rneat = 0.248 vs. rdiluted = 0.817). SAB-subclass assay revealed at least one IgG1-4 subclass in 1,012 (78.8%) positive antibody-specificities. Among them, strong complement-binding subclasses, mainly IgG1, were particularly frequent (98.9%) and no differences were found between C1q- and non-C1q-binding antibodies regarding their presence (99.4 vs. 98.5%; p = 0.193). In contrast, weak or non-C1q-binding subclasses (IgG2/IgG4) were more commonly detected in C1q-binding antibodies (78.9 vs. 38.6%; p < 0.001). Interestingly, a strong association was found between the C1q-binding ability and the IgG1 strength (rIgG1dil = 0.796). Though lower, the correlation between the IgG2 strength and the C1q-binding ability was also strong (rIgG2dil = 0.758), being both subclasses closely related (rIgG1−IgG2 = 0.817). We did not find any correlation with the C1q-binding ability considering the remaining subclasses. In conclusion, we demonstrate that a particular profile of IgG subclasses (IgG1/IgG3) itself does not determine at all the ability to bind complement of anti-HLA antibodies assessed by SAB-C1q assay. It is the IgG subclass strength, mainly of IgG1, which usually appears in combination with IgG2, that best correlates with it.