Assessing Antibody Strength: Comparison of MFI, C1q, and Titer Information

A. R. Tambur, N. D. Herrera, K. M.K. Haarberg, M. F. Cusick, R. A. Gordon, J. R. Leventhal, J. J. Friedewald, D. Glotz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

208 Scopus citations


The presence of donor-specific HLA antibodies before or after transplantation may have different implications based on the antibody strength. Yet, current approaches do not provide information regarding the true antibody strength as defined by antigen-antibody dissociation rate. To assess currently available methods, we compared between neat mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) values, C1q MFI values, ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)-treated samples, as well as titration studies and peak MFI values of over 7000 Luminex-based single-antigen HLA antibody data points. Our results indicate that neat MFI values do not always accurately depict antibody strength. We further showed that EDTA treatment (6%) does not always remove all inhibitory factors compared with C1q or titration studies. In this study of patients presenting with multiple antibody specificities, a prozone effect was observed in 71% of the cohort (usually not affecting all antibody specificities within a single serum sample, though). Similar to titration studies, the C1q assay was able to address the issue of potential inhibition; however, its limitation is its low sensitivity and inability to detect the presence of weak antibodies. Titration studies are the only method among the approaches used in this study to provide information suggesting antigen-antibody dissociation rates and are, therefore, likely to provide better indication of true antibody strength. The authors compare several current approaches to assess HLA donor-specific antibody strength in support of risk stratification and antibody removal therapy choices, and conclude that the most granular information is obtained by performing titration studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2421-2430
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Antibody biology
  • desensitization
  • major histocompatibility complex (MHC)
  • rejection: antibody-mediated (ABMR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessing Antibody Strength: Comparison of MFI, C1q, and Titer Information'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this