General Question

Magnus's avatar

Can someone briefly explain bloodtypes?

Asked by Magnus (2852 points ) October 26th, 2008

You got Red blood cell compatibility and plasma compatibility. What’s the difference, are they both important?

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9 Answers

MissAnthrope's avatar

From here

Blood types, as people commonly know, has a classification which is simply based on two things:

* ABO group
* Rhesus factor

Now, the ABO group, depends on two antigens; antigen A and antigen B. which lie on the surface of the red blood cell (RBC):

* A person having an A antigen on his RBC cells will show a blood type of A
* A person having a B antigen on his RBC cells will show a blood type of B
* A person having both A & B antigens on his RBC cells will show a blood type of AB
* A person having neither of those antigens will show a blood type of O

Second, the rhesus factor, which depends on a single antigen; antigen D, which also lies on the surface of the RBC:

* A person having a D antigen is called an Rh positive, e.g. A, B and D antigens’ presence exhibit a blood type of AB+ (universal acceptor)
* A person without the D antigen is called an Rh negative, e.g. Neither A, nor B, nor D antigens’ presence exhibit a blood type of O- (universal donor).

Both factors combine to form the blood types as we know them today.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Well first is the ABO system. Which describes the surface antigen red blood cells display. Think of antigens as labels that describe cells. All cells produce them and the immune system can tell the difference between forsign invaders and the host body. Red blood cells antigens fall in to the categories A and B. Red blood cells can either display 1 (ie A or B), both (AB) or neither (O). Then there is the rehus antigen which is either there (positive) or not (Negative). A person with O- blood therefore is not displaying any antigens and because of this there blood can be given to any body (called the universal donor). People who are AB+ have red blood cells that are showing all the possible antigens which means that they can accept blood from any one (universal recipient).

Plasma compatability is also based on blood types. People can recieve plasma of the same blood group, but otherwise the donor-recipient compatibility for blood plasma is the converse of that of red blood cells. Plasma extracted from type AB blood can be transfused to individuals of any blood group while individuals of blood group O can receive plasma from any blood group but type O plasma can be used only by type O recipients. (Sorry, can’t for the life of me remember why just at the minute).

So why is blood typing important. Well if you transfuse type B blood cells into a type A person then that persons immune system won’t recognise the type B antigens as part of the body and will attack them just as it would invading bacteria. Transfusion reactions can range from the mild such as a fever too the more serious such as lung injury and acute heamolytic reaction where donor red cell are rapidly destroyed which is bad. (life threatening medical emergency bad).

For more info have a look at the wiki pages for Blood Types and transfusion reactions

wilhel1812's avatar

haha! didn’t we have this discussion just before you left magnus?
get on meebo btw

AstroChuck's avatar

There are other types besides ABO, albeit very rare, such as U-, etc. These types are generally found only in specific racial and ethnic groups.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@astrochuck There are 30 internationally recognised blood gouping systems so people that have these rare blood groups also will have an ABO group as well just like people have an ABO group and rhesus group.

Magnus's avatar

lol Wilhelm I think we did!

asmonet's avatar

For anyone interested, DIY Kit!

Mr_M's avatar

I believe the ABO groups are UNIVERSAL. Some people have additional ANTIBODIES which make the blood hard to crossmatch.

ShiningToast's avatar

@asmonet I was just looking at that the other day!

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