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HLA typing by PCR-based techniques

Related Terms

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Background

  • Human lymphocyte antigens (HLA), or human leukocyte antigens, are proteins found on the surface of almost all the cells in the body. Proteins are a group of complex organic macromolecules that contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and usually sulfur, and they are composed of one or more chains of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. HLA are present in especially high concentration on white blood cells, which play an important role in the body's immune response to foreign substances. Each individual has a unique set of HLA genes, as both parent pass down one of these genes to their offspring. Identical twins, however, can have the same set of HLA genes.
  • These HLA genes code for the HLA, which play a vital role in organ transplant success. A transplant is the transfer of an organ such as kidney or liver from one person (the donor) to another (the recipient) when the recipient's own organ is severely damaged. The donor's and recipient's HLA should be as similar as possible to ensure transplant success. Therefore, transplantation of an organ from an identical twin will be more successful than between siblings. Transplantation from an unrelated donor may be less successful than from a sibling.
  • The genetic information in humans is passed down from the parents to their offspring through 23 pairs of chromosomes. Each chromosome consists of a long deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecule and associated proteins that carry part of the hereditary information of an organism. Each DNA molecule itself consists of large numbers of nucleotides. Nucleotides in DNA are composed of a nitrogen-containing base, a 5-carbon sugar (deoxyribose), and phosphate groups. The sequence of bases in DNA serves as the carrier of genetic (hereditary) information. A region of DNA that controls a specific hereditary characteristic, usually corresponding to a single protein, is called a gene. A gene may exist in two or more forms or versions, and these forms are called alleles.
  • An antigen can be defined in two contexts: A protein marker on the surface of cells that identifies the cell as "self" or "non-self," in which case they stimulate the production of antibodies by B lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell), which can neutralize or destroy the antigen-bearing cell. Antigens may also be foreign substances such as bacteria, toxins, or foreign blood cells, which trigger the body to produce antibodies. Antibodies are proteins manufactured by the body that bind to an antigen to neutralize, inhibit, or destroy it.
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Methods

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Research

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Implications

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Limitations

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Safety

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Future Research

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.