What relevance do antigen-antibody reactions have in blood transfusion?  

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dano7744 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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Before someone receives a blood transfusion we need to take a sample of their blood and perform typing, screening, and a crossmatch. This tells us among other things what the blood type is. 

If the person has for example type A blood, this means that A antigens or proteins are present. If the person receives a blood transfusion with incompatible blood they will experience a blood transfusion reaction. This occurs because the body produces antibodies to the foreign blood.

When antibodies are produced to a type of blood agglutination or clumping occurs. This is a serious event because the intravascular blood will clot. This damages organs to the point of organ failure.

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charles85 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

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If you belong to the blood group A, you have A antigens on the surface of your red blood cells and B antibodies in your blood plasma.

If you belong to the blood group B, you have B antigens on the surface of your red blood cells and A antibodies in your blood plasma.

If you belong to the blood group AB, you have both A and B antigens on the surface of your red blood cells and no A or B antibodies at all in your blood plasma.

If you belong to the blood group 0 (null), you have neither A or B antigens on the surface of your red blood cells but you have both A and B antibodies in your blood plasma.

Not all blood groups are compatible with each other. Mixing incompatible blood groups leads to blood clumping or agglutination, which is dangerous for individuals. Mixing blood from two individuals can lead to blood clumping or agglutination. The clumped red cells can crack and cause toxic reactions. This can have fatal consequences. Karl Landsteiner discovered that blood clumping was an immunological reaction which occurs when the receiver of a blood transfusion has antibodies against the donor blood cells.

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