Minor histocompatibility antigen

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Minor histocompatibility antigen (a.k.a. MHA) are receptors on the cellular surface of donated organs that are known to give an immunological response in some organ transplants.[1] They cause problems of rejection less frequently than those of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC).

Minor histocompatibility antigens are due to normal proteins that are in themselves polymorphic in a given population. Even when a transplant donor and recipient are identical with respect to their major histocompatibility complex genes, the amino acid differences in minor proteins can cause the grafted tissue to be slowly rejected.

Clinical implications[edit]

Immunization of mothers against male-specific minor histocompatibility (H-Y) antigens has a pathogenic role in many cases of secondary recurrent miscarriage, that is, recurrent miscarriage in pregnancies succeeding a previous live birth. An example of this effect is that the male:female ratio of children born prior and subsequent to secondary recurrent miscarriage is 1.49 and 0.76 respectively.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Robertson N, Chain J, Millrain M, Scott D, Hashim F, Mankteloner E, Lemonnier F, Simpson E, Dyson J (2007). "Natural regulation of immunity to minor histocompatibility antigens". J Immunol 178 (6): 3558–65. doi:10.4049/jimmunol.178.6.3558. PMID 17339452. 
  2. ^ Nielsen, H. S. (2011). "Secondary recurrent miscarriage and H-Y immunity". Human Reproduction Update. doi:10.1093/humupd/dmr005. 

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