Red Cell Immunology and Genotyping


Red Cell Immunology and Genotyping

Immunohematology is a specialized branch of laboratory medicine which involves the study of the immunology and genetics of blood groups, blood cell antigens and antibodies, and specific blood proteins. It plays an important role in blood banking and transfusion medicine. Immunohematology problems discovered during the process of routine pre-transfusion or antenatal testing often produce fatal incompatible antibody. Because the membrane of each RBC contains millions of those antigens and transfusing a patient with the incorrect blood group may have fatal consequences. For example, when a woman becomes pregnant, and during delivery a small amount of fetal blood enters her circulation. The exposure to the fetal antigens can readily trigger immune response, which induces incompatible antibody formation. The acquired antibodies may threaten the next fetus, and expose him/her to high risk by causing HDN. So resolution of these challenging cases is fundamental to the safe practice of blood transfusion. Immune-serological techniques have been widely used to identify and resolve the diagnostic problems in these cases. Molecular techniques are also increasingly used in immunohematology to determine the antigen profile of patients, resolve more complex problems and large scale red cell genotyping.

A large number of studies are published in the field of Immunohematology. However more clinical studies are needed to enrich our understanding of blood type incompatibility and to provide an opportunity for clinicians to implement the adequate prevention of alloimmunization as well as to make timely diagnosis and to introduce treatment of hemolytic disease in newborns. Publications in this special issue aim not only to demonstrate more research findings related to immunohematology in order to optimize the resolution of incompatibility problems in various blood bank, but also to ensure better management of preventing alloimmunization and improving transfusion outcomes. In addition, It gives also insight into the genetic variability of different blood groups in different ethnicities.

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Joel James
Managing Editor
Biomedical Research