Graft-versus-host disease and donor-directed hemagglutinin titers after ABO-mismatched related and unrelated marrow allografts: evidence for a graft-versus-plasma cell effect.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Blood, Volume 96, Issue 3, p.1150-6 (2000)


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Biological Markers, Blood Grouping and Crossmatching, Bone Marrow Transplantation, Child, Child, Preschool, Female, Graft vs Host Disease, Hemagglutinins, Humans, Infant, Male, Middle Aged, Plasma Cells, Predictive Value of Tests, Transplantation, Homologous


The gradual disappearance of host antidonor isohemagglutinins after major ABO-mismatched hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) allografts has been attributed to the gradual destruction of host plasma cells by graft-versus-host effects. To corroborate this hypothesis, we retrospectively analyzed results from 383 major or major/minor ABO-mismatched unrelated and related HSC allografts performed between 1983 and 1998. All patients were conditioned by high-dose pretransplant therapy and given methotrexate/cyclosporine for graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) prophylaxis. Of the 383 patients, 155 had HLA-matched related and 228 had unrelated grafts. We asked whether unrelated recipients experienced a more rapid disappearance of isohemagglutinins than related recipients, and whether, within the groups of related and unrelated recipients, the titer disappeared faster in patients with GvHD than in those without GvHD. The median time to reach undetectable antidonor IgG and IgM titers was significantly shorter in unrelated recipients (46 versus 61 days; P =.016). In addition, related recipients with GvHD had a 2. 2-fold increased likelihood (1.12-4.39,95% CI; P =.02) of reaching undetectable titers within 100 days than patients without GvHD. The persistence of antidonor isohemagglutinins led to significantly increased red blood cell (RBC) transfusion requirements in the ABO-mismatched related patients compared with ABO-matched counterparts. However, time to neutrophil and platelet engraftment, incidence of GvHD, and survival were not influenced by ABO incompatibility. In conclusion, our results corroborate the hypothesis that the rate of disappearance of antidonor isohemagglutinins after ABO-mismatched allogeneic HSC grafts is influenced by the degree of genetic disparity between donor and recipient, suggesting a graft-versus-plasma cell effect.