The importance of HLA-DPB1 matching for the outcome of allogeneic hematologic stem cell (HSC) transplantation is controversial. We have previously identified HLA-DPB1*0901 as a target of cytotoxic T cells mediating in vivo rejection of an HSC allograft. Here we show that HLA-DPB1*0901 encodes a T-cell epitope shared by a subset of DPB1 alleles that determines nonpermissive mismatches for HSC transplantation. Several T-cell clones obtained from the patient at the time of rejection showed HLA-DP restricted recognition of allogeneic targets expressing HLA-DPB1*0901, *1001, *1701, *0301, *1401, and *4501, but not other alleles. Based on these findings, we developed an algorithm for prediction of nonpermissive HLA-A-DPB1 mismatches. Retrospective evaluation of 118 transplantations showed that the presence of nonpermissive HLA-DPB1 mismatches was correlated with significantly increased hazards of acute grade II to IV graff-versus-host disease (HR = 1.87, P = .046) and transplantation-related mortality (HR = 2.69, P = .027) but not relapse (HR = 0.98, P = .939), as compared with the permissive group. There was also a marked but statistically not significant increase in the hazards of overall mortality (HR = 1.64, P = .1). These data suggest that biologic characterization of in vivo alloreactivity can be a tool for definition of clinically relevant nonpermissive HLA mismatches for unrelated HSC transplantation.
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