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Blood Groups – ABO Blood Group and Rh Group System

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We discovered that all living cells must be provided with supplements, O2, and other fundamental substances. Likewise, the waste or destructive substances produced must be eliminated persistently for the healthy working of tissues. Therefore, it is, fundamental to have efficient mechanisms for the movement of these substances to the cells and from the cells. Unique groups of animals have developed various strategies for this transport. Primary living beings like sponges and coelenterates circulate water from their environmental factors through their body cavities to work with the cells to exchange these substances. More complex organisms utilize special liquids inside their bodies to transport such materials. Blood is the most generally used body fluid by the majority of the higher organisms including humans for this reason. Another body fluid, lymph, likewise helps in the transport of specific substances.


Blood is a body liquid in the circulatory arrangement of people and different vertebrates that conveys essential substances like nutrients and oxygen to the cells, and transports metabolic waste products away from those same cells.

Blood is made out of blood cells suspended in blood plasma. Plasma, which comprises 55% of blood fluid, is mostly water (92% by volume) and contains proteins, glucose, mineral ions, hormones, carbon dioxide (plasma being the principal mode for excretory product transportation), and blood cells themselves. Albumin is an essential protein in plasma, and its capabilities control the colloidal osmotic pressure of blood. The blood cells are principally red blood cells (additionally called RBCs or erythrocytes), white blood cells (likewise called WBCs or leukocytes), and platelets (likewise called thrombocytes). The most abundant cells in vertebrate blood are red blood cells. These contain hemoglobin, an iron-containing protein, which works with oxygen transport by reversibly binding to this respiratory gas, accordingly expanding its dissolvability in blood. Conversely, carbon dioxide is for the most part moved extracellularly as bicarbonate ions are transported in plasma.

Medical terms connected with blood frequently start with hemo-or hemato-(additionally spelled haemo-and haemato-) from the Greek word αἷμα (haima) for “blood”. As far as anatomy and histology, blood is viewed as a particular form of connective tissue, given its origin point during the bones and the presence of potential molecular fibers in the form of  fibrinogen

Blood Grouping

As you are probably aware, the blood of human beings varies in specific viewpoints, however it has all the aspects of being comparable. Different types of collection of blood have been done. Two such groupings—the ABO and Rh—are broadly utilized all around the world.

ABO System

ABO grouping depends on the presence or absence of two surface antigens (chemicals that can induce an immune response) on the RBCs to be specific A also, B. Likewise, the plasma of various people contains two normal antibodies (proteins produced in response to antigens). The distribution of antigens and antibodies in the four gatherings of blood, A, B, AB, and O are given in Table.  You likely realize that during blood transfusion, any kind of blood can’t be utilized; the blood of a donor has to be carefully coordinated with the blood of a beneficiary before any blood transfusion to stay away from extreme issues of clumping (destruction of RBC). The benefactor’s compatibility is additionally displayed in Table.

ABO Blood Group


From the previously mentioned table, it is clear that group ‘O’ blood can be given to people with some other blood group, and subsequently ‘O’ group people are called ‘Universal Donors’. People with the ‘AB’ blood group can accept blood from the people with AB as well as other groups of blood. Subsequently, such people are called ‘Universal recipients’.

Rh System

Another antigen, the Rh antigen similar to one present in Rhesus monkeys (hence Rh), is likewise seen on the outer layer of RBCs of a larger part (almost 80 percent) of people. Such people are called Rh positive (Rh+ve) furthermore, those in whom this antigen is missing are called Rh negative (Rh-ve). An Rh-ve individual, whenever presented with Rh+ve blood, will form specific antibodies against the Rh antigens. Subsequently, the Rh group should also be matched prior to transfusions. A special case of Rh incompatibility (mismatching) has been seen between the Rh-ve blood of a pregnant mother and with Rh+ve blood of the fetus. Rh’s antigens of the fetus don’t get presented to the Rh-ve blood of the mother in the first pregnancy, as the two types of blood are well separated by the placenta.

However, during the delivery of the first kid, there is a possibility of exposure of the maternal blood to little measures of the Rh+ve blood from the fetus. In such cases, the mother begins planning antibodies against Rh antigen in her blood. If there should arise an occurrence of her resulting pregnancies, the Rh antibodies from the mother (Rh-ve) can leak into the blood of the fetus (Rh+ve) and destroy the fetal RBCs. This could be fatal to the fetus or could cause extreme anemia and jaundice in the child. This condition is called erythroblastosis fetal. This can be avoided by administering Rh antibodies to the mother immediately after the delivery of the first child.

Blood Typing

Your blood type is determined by what kind of antigens your red blood cells have on the surface.

Antigens are substances that help your body differentiate between its own cells and foreign, potentially dangerous ones. If your body thinks a cell is foreign, it will set out to destroy it. The ABO blood typing system groups your blood into one of four categories:

  • Type A has the A antigen.
  • Type B has the B antigen.
  • Type AB has both A and B antigens.
  • Type O has neither A nor B antigens.

If blood with antigens that you don’t have enters your system, your body will create antibodies against it. However, some people can still safely receive blood that isn’t their blood type. As long as the blood they receive doesn’t have any antigens that mark it as foreign, their bodies won’t attack it.

In other words, donations work as follows:

  1. O: Type-O individuals can donate blood to anyone because their blood has no antigens. However, they can only receive blood from other type O individuals (because blood with any antigens is seen as foreign).
  2. A: Type A individuals can donate to other type A individuals and type AB individuals. Type A individuals can receive blood only from other type A individuals and type O individuals.
  3. B: Type B individuals can donate blood to other B individuals and AB individuals. Type B individuals can receive blood only from type B individuals and type O individuals.
  4. AB: Type AB individuals can give blood only to other AB individuals, but can receive the blood of any type.

Blood types are further organized by the Rh factor:

  • Rh-positive: People with Rh-positive blood have Rh antigens on the surface of their red blood cells. People with Rh-positive blood can receive Rh-positive or Rh-negative blood.
  • Rh-negative: People with Rh-negative blood don’t have Rh antigens. People with Rh-negative blood can receive only blood that is also Rh-negative.
    Together, the ABO and Rh grouping systems yield your complete blood type. There are eight possible types:
    • O-positive
    • O-negative
    • A-positive
    • A-negative
    • B-positive
    • B-negative
    • AB-positive
    • AB-negative

Type O-negative has long been considered a universal donor.

Austrian Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1901. Before that, blood transfusions were risky and potentially lethal. Landsteiner made the process much safer, and he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work.

FAQs on Blood Groups

Question 1: Mention the types of blood groups that are identified by the ABO blood grouping system.


The types of blood groups that are identified by the ABO blood grouping systems are A, B, AB, O

Question 2: What is the reason we call the AB blood group people a Universal Recipient?


An individual who has group AB blood can get blood from an individual with some other blood types – A, B or O. Group AB blood contains red platelets that have the two antigens A and B and thus does not have reactive antibodies in its plasma to these antigens, which are found in some other blood classifications. On account of its capacity to get blood from various kinds of blood groups, blood group AB is called the Universal recipient.

Question 3: Describe the reason the blood is divided into groups.


The division of blood groups relies upon the presence of a glycoprotein unit in the blood cell. Varieties in the composition of these units are the basis of differences in blood groups. Within the ABO group, four significant categories are separated into eight normal blood types: A, B, O, and AB.

Question 4: Explain the Blood Group matching before blood Transfusion.


Blood group matching is an unquestionable necessity before blood transfusion as giving the right blood to a patient during transfusion is imperatively significant. This implies ensuring that the donor’s blood is compatible with the patient’s blood, limiting responses during transfusion, and keeping away from any catastrophic consequences. Assuming blood is given to a patient that has a blood type that is contradictory with the blood type of the blood that the patient gets, it can cause intravenous clumping in the patient’s blood which can be fatal.

Question 5: Red blood cells that do not contain either A or B antigens on their surface are normally found in the person with blood type___________?


The blood type where the Red blood cells do not contain either A or B antigens on their surface in the human is ‘O’ type blood.

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Last Updated : 28 Oct, 2022
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