Objectives: Transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI) is a rare but serious complication which can occur after transfusion of blood components. In this report we describe our flow-cytometry approach to the laboratory diagnosis of a case of TRALI in a recipient of fresh frozen plasma containing human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II antibodies. Methods: The post-transfusion reaction work-up included the direct and indirect Granulocyte Immunofluorescence Test (GIFT) on the recipient's neutrophils collected before and after the reaction and on the serum from the recipient and from all implicated donors; flow-cytometry bead-based screening and identification assay for HLA class I and II antibodies in donor sera and flow cytometry cross-matching on T and B patient's lymphocytes. Finally, we investigated the reactivity of one donor serum, containing HLA class II antibodies, with the patient's neutrophils activated in vitro to induce expression of HLA class II. Results: We found an increased level of IgG bound on patient's granulocytes collected after TRALI, in the absence of detectable granulocyte and HLA class I antibodies in the five implicated donors. One of them showed HLA-DR 1 and -DR 51 antibodies, which determined a positive cross-match with patient's B lymphocytes and in vitro activated granulocytes. Both HLA class II antigens were present in the recipient and absent in the donor. Conclusions: In some pathological conditions, HLA class II antibodies can react with activated granulocytes expressing HLA-DR antigens, and activate TRALI reaction. HLA class II anti-bodies screening and flow cytometry cross-matching techniques should be added to the current diagnostic algorithm of TRALI.
- Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II
- Transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI)
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