Blood Group Incompatibility


Blood group antibodies present in plasma can bind with blood group antigens on red cells and cause a reaction (blood group incompatibility). Antigen–antibody reactions can occur as a result of transfusion (incompatible donor cells) or pregnancy (incompatible fetal cells).

Keywords: blood group antigen; blood group antibody; blood transfusion; transfusion reaction; blood group incompatibility

Figure 1.

Some blood group‐active proteins in the red cell membrane. Circle complexes depict carbohydrate structures (ABH).

Figure 2.

(a) Basic structural unit of immunoglobulin (Ig); (b) Papain digestion of IgG molecule creating Fab and Fc fragments; (c) IgG monomer; (d) IgM pentamer. S‐S, disulfide bond.

Figure 3.

(a) Intravascular and (b) extravascular red cell destruction.

Figure 4.

(a) Sensitization of red cell antigen with IgM antibody, and (b) agglutination of cells.

Figure 5.

Events leading to haemolytic disease of the newborn.


Further Reading

Daniels G (1995) Human Blood Groups. Oxford: Blackwell Science.

Issitt PD and Anstee DJ (1998) Applied Blood Group Serology, 4th edn, chaps 3, 6, 35, 36. North Carolina: Montgomery Scientific.

Mollison PL, Engelfriet CP and Contreras M (1997) Blood Transfusion in Clinical Medicine, 10th edn, chaps 3, 8, 10–12. Oxford: Blackwell Science.

United Kingdom Blood Transfusion Services in the United Kingdom (2000) Guidelines for the Blood Transfusion Services in the United Kingdom, 4th edn. Norwich: The Stationary Office Ltd.

Vengelen‐Tyler V (ed.) (1999) The AABB Technical Manual, 13th edn. Bethesda, MD: American Association of Blood Banks.

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How to Cite close
Poole, Joyce(Jan 2003) Blood Group Incompatibility. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0002096]