Homework Help

We know that antigens present on red blood cells determine the success of blood...

user profile pic

cookiesther | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 17, 2013 at 9:49 AM via web

dislike 0 like

We know that antigens present on red blood cells determine the success of blood transfusions. What role does antibodies play in blood transfusion? Discuss briefly.

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

tjbrewer | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted April 17, 2013 at 11:04 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

Antigens and antibodies are not distinct, they are different sides of the same coin. 

Blood types are determined by what antigens the red blood cells have.  They can have A antigens, B antigens, both, or none.  They can also have Rhesus antigens (+) or not (-).  This gives the 8 blood types:
A+,  A-,  B+,   B-,   AB+,   AB-,   O+,    and O-. 

If someone is a negative type, other than AB they will make antibodies to attack the other antigen.  Someone who is A- has rhesus and B-type antibodies.  If they receive a transfusion of B- blood, the B-type antibodies attack red blood cells with the B antigen, and binds them together into clots.  This defeats the whole purpose of the transfusion, as the blood cells are prevented from functioning.  In addition these clots can lodge in key blood vessels causing fatal complications. 

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes