The International Society Of Blood Transfusion ( Isbt )

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Chapter I

1-1 Overview of human blood groups

The term blood group is usually restricted to blood cell surface antigens, and generally to red cell surface antigens. These antigens are molecules present on the red blood cells membrane, which can trigger an immune response if they are foreign to the body.

Landsteiner and his colleagues (1, 2), discovered the first blood group system (ABO) in 1901, they observed that plasma from some individuals agglutinated the red cells from others.

For the next 45 years, only those antibodies that directly agglutinate could be studied. With the development of the antiglobulin test by Coombs, Mourant, and Race in 1945 (3, 4), the non-agglutinating antibodies could be detected,
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Levine and Stetson identified an alloantibody in the mother serum, which react at room temperature and 37 c with husband RBCs and with 80% of Caucasians RBCs. They postulated that this antibody had produced against a specific factor in both fetus and father RBCs that the mother lack. Levine and his colleague suggested that antibody had developed during the mother pregnancy after her exposure to a foreign factor from her fetus.

A year later Landsteiner and Wiener (7), discovered an antibody in the rabbits and guinea pigs sera after being injected with rhesus Macacus monkeys’ RBCs, they noticed that the antibody agglutinate with 85% of human RBCs. This antibody named Rh after Rhesus monkeys. Other study carried by Levine and others (8), demonstrate that Rh antibody which was described by Landsteiner and Wiener has the same specificities of the former antibody which was discovered in 1939, and they thought it was belong to the same blood group. Years later, many investigations showed that it was not the case, and each of the two antibodies belong to a different blood group. However, anti-Rh name retained to the human-produced antibody, and the other antibody renamed anti-LW in
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