Abstract

We have used DNA hybridization techniques employing restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs) to quantitate the level of donor cell engraftment in bone marrow transplantation recipients. The genetic origin of the bone marrow cells and various peripheral blood populations was analyzed in 14 patients. We found at least one informative polymorphism for each donor-recipient pair. Additional markers of engraftment included cytogenetic analysis, HLA typing, and red cell typing. By DNA analysis, four patients had complete engraftment, five had partial engraftment, and five had no evidence of donor cell engraftment. In three cases, DNA analysis permitted detection of minor populations (5% to 10%) of donor or host cells. Eight of fourteen patients were evaluable for chimerism posttransplant by cytogenetic analysis. In five cases, cytogenetic results were completely concordant with DNA analyses. In two cases of apparent autologous recovery, as assessed using RFLPs, a small number of cells of donor karyotype was seen. In one other case, a small number of cells of host karyotype was not detected by RFLP studies. HLA typing in three partially engrafted patients was purely either of donor or host type. Red cell typing was discordant with DNA and/or cytogenetic results in four of eight cases. We conclude that DNA analysis at a limited number of informative genetic loci is useful for quantitating the degree of engraftment in multiple populations of nondividing cells following allogeneic bone marrow transplantation.

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