22 Jun

Blood Group

The blood group refers to the presence of specific antigens on the surface of red blood cells.  You may have heard of blood groups such as A, B, AB, and O.  The antigen on the surface of the cell can be proteins, carbohydrates, glycoproteins, or lipids.  Group A means that the individual as the A-antigen on the surface of their red blood cells.  This individual would also have antibodies to the B-antigen in their blood plasma.  They can receive type A blood however if they receive type B blood the antibodies in their blood plasma would devour the red blood cells.  This concept becomes vital when giving a patient a blood transfusion.  If someone is mistakenly given the wrong blood group their body will reject it.  If a fetus has a blood antigen other than her own she can develop antibodies to the fetal red blood cell antigen.  There are drugs available that will prevent the production of such antibodies within the mother.