Real People

 Kidney Transplantation: Past, Present, and Future

What is Tissue Typing?

Each of us has several genetic markers located on thesurface of most of our white cells. One particulargroup of genetic markers is called HLAor HumanLeukocyte Antigens (leukocyte refers to white cell,and antigen refers to genetic marker). Tissue Typingis the name given to the test which identifies anindividual's HLA. This information is critical beforea patient receives a donor organ.Since everyone inherits these Human LeukocyteAntigens from their parents, it is possible todistinguish which set of HLA's were inherited fromone's father and likewise from one's mother (if tissuetyping is performed on both parents). For example,suppose your HLA is the following 1,8,10/2,7,11,(each number represents a separate inherited antigen).The antigens are inherited as a group, from eachparent. Each set of antigens is called a haplotype.Keeping in mind that you must inherit one haplotypefrom each parent, as illustrated below, this is how youmight have inherited your HLA:


The illustration above is called a pedigree. Apedigree is a diagram which is used to examineinheritance. Notice how each parent has 2 sets ofHLA, and gives one set to their child (you).

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