Pathogenesis and mechanisms of antibody-mediated hemolysis

TitlePathogenesis and mechanisms of antibody-mediated hemolysis
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsFlegel WA


The clinical consequences of antibodies to red blood cells (RBCs) have been studied for a century. Most clinically relevant antibodies can be detected by sensitive in vitro assays. Several mechanisms of antibody-mediated hemolysis are well understood. Such hemolysis after transfusion is reliably avoided in a donor-recipient pair, if one individual is negative for the cognate antigen to which the other has the antibody.

Mechanisms of antibody-mediated hemolysis were reviewed based on a presentation at the Strategies to Address Hemolytic Complications of Immune Globulin Infusions Workshop addressing intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) and ABO antibodies. The presented topics included the rates of intravascular and extravascular hemolysis; immunoglobulin (Ig)M and IgG isoagglutinins; auto- and alloantibodies; antibody specificity; A, B, A,B, and A1 antigens; A1 versus A2 phenotypes; monocytes-macrophages, other immune cells, and complement; monocyte monolayer assay; antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity; and transfusion reactions due to ABO and other antibodies.

Several clinically relevant questions remained unresolved, and diagnostic tools were lacking to routinely and reliably predict the clinical consequences of RBC antibodies. Most hemolytic transfusion reactions associated with IVIG were due to ABO antibodies. Reducing the titers of such antibodies in IVIG may lower the frequency of this kind of adverse event. The only way to stop these events is to have no anti-A or anti-B in the IVIG products.

Alternate JournalTransfusion
Notify Library Reference ID4611

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