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KIR Genotyping

Natural Killer (NK) cells play a critical role in the innate immune response to viral infection and tumor cell lysis. Additionally, in the BMT setting, recent publications have implicated NK cells in the suppression of graft-versus-host disease, promotion of bone marrow engraftment, and mediation of graft-versus-leukemia effect. These functions are influenced by Killer Immunoglobulin-like Receptors (KIR), which comprise a family of membrane glycoproteins expressed on the cell surface. KIR have specificity for Class I HLA molecules and the receptor-ligand interactions can either activate or inhibit cellular functions. The inhibitory KIRs interact with specific HLA Class I molecules, predominantly HLA-C, on target cells.

In humans, KIR are encoded by a polymorphic family of genes in the leukocyte receptor complex on chromosome 19. During their development, NK cells are programmed to express different numbers and combinations of KIR in a stable manner. Thus, human peripheral blood NK cells have clonal diversity in receptors due to this mode of KIR gene expression.

To select BMT donors according to their potential for:

  • NK mediated graft-versus-leukemia effect
  • Suppression of graft-versus host disease
  • Promotion of bone marrow engraftment


Turn Around Time (arrival before 10am)

Routine test results in 2-4 business days

STAT testing in 1-2 business days

Reference Papers:

  • Vilches C, Parham P. Do NK-Cell receptors and alloreactivity affect solid organ transplantation? Transplant Immunology. 2006;1:27-30.
  • Williams AP, Bateman AR, Khakoo SI. Hanging in the balance: KIR and their role in disease. Molecular Interventions. 2005;5:226-240.
  • Ruggeri L, Capanni M, Urbani E, Perruccio K, Shlomchik WD, Tosti A, Posati S, Rogaia D, Frassoni F, Aversa F, Martelli MF, Velardi A. Effectiveness of donor natural killer cell alloreactivity in mismatched hematopoietic transplants. Science. 2002;295:2097-2100.
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