Recent reports indicate a higher incidence of both acute and chronic liver allograft rejection when, at the time of transplantation, the recipients serum contains donor-specific anti-HLA antibodies. From 9/89 to 5/91, 133 liver allografts were performed at our institution. Thirteen liver recipients had donor-specific IgG anti-HLA antibodies (complement-fixing) at the time of transplantation. In eleven patients, antibodies reacted to donor class I antigens while in 1 patient the donor-specific antibody had class II reactivity. Twelve patients have been followed for a minimum of 12 months (median 18 months, range 28-12 months). No hyperacute rejection was seen in any of the cases and four patients had acute rejections. Thus far only one of the twelve patients has biopsy evidence suggestive of chronic liver injury. The remaining have normal liver enzymes and bilirubin. Three of these twelve patients died (one from a myocardial infarction and the others from sepsis) accounting for a one-year graft survival of 75%. There was no significant statistical difference in the one-year graft survival in those recipients without donor-specific antibodies (i.e., 80.5%). In eight of the twelve patients, pretransplant preformed antibody level (PRA) was >50%. In six of the thirteen patients donor-specific antibody was present at dilutions greater than 1:64. As previously reported, the donor-specific antibody disappeared from the serum posttransplant within hours and did not reappear. In vitro studies demonstrated no factor in portal or hepatic artery blood that could inhibit rabbit complement mediated lysis of anti-HLA antibodies. We conclude that it is not a contraindication to do liver transplants in the presence of donor-specific anti-HLA antibodies.