What is Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) Matching?

Over 2500 HLA markers help to determine organ donor matches

by | Feb 7, 2023

HLA (human leukocyte antigen) typing is a method used to determine how closely one person’s tissues match another person’s tissues. HLA typing is done to match bone marrow and cord blood donors with transplant recipients. HLA markers are proteins or markers found in our cells. The immune system uses these markers to identify which cells belong in the body and which don’t.

Research has determined that a donor and recipient need to have a minimum of 6 matching HLA markers for the transplant to be successful, but the more markers the two have in common, the better the match and outcome. Having similar markers means the recipient’s immune system won’t see the transplanted tissue as a foreign invader. Researchers currently know of 2,500 different HLA markers.

Because you inherit HLA’s from your mother and father, your siblings are most likely to be the best match should you need a bone marrow transplant.


If you’re looking for a laboratory to perform HLA testing or other scientific research, submit a laboratory test online HERE.

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