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Blood Groups and Transfusions

The discovery of blood groups:

In 1901, the Austrian scientist, Karl Landsteiner discovered human blood
groups which facilitated the way for blood transfusions to be carried out safely.
Karl Landsteiner discovered that blood clumping was an immunological reaction
which occurs when the receiver of a blood transfusion has antibodies against the
donors blood cells.
Karl Landsteiner showed that membranes of RBCs contain
two types of proteins called blood group antigens which
determine the persons blood type.
One way of typing blood is the A-B-O system.
Using this system, the four blood types are A, B, AB and O.
These four types of blood are called Blood Groups.
There are also two main types of antibodies found naturally in
the human plasma; anti-A-antibody and anti-B-antibody.
Anti-A-antibodies agglutinates type A red cells while anti-B-antibodies
agglutinates type B red cells.
The individual who gives blood is called donor while the patient who receives the
blood is called recipient.
Blood group O is called universal donor; which means a person with blood
group O can give blood to anyone because blood group O has no antigens
and cant be agglutinated by blood of any other group.
People with AB blood group are called universal recipients because AB blood
group has no antibodies in their plasma as they could receive any blood groups
and no agglutination will occur as they are unable to produce antibodies against
antigens on the donors red blood cells.
A person can donate a unit of blood (450ml).
1. Blood Group A has A-antigen on the surface of the RBCs and anti-Bantibody in the plasma.
2. Blood Group A has B-antigen on the surface of the RBCs and anti-Aantibody in the plasma.
3. Blood Group AB has both A and B antigens on the surface of the RBCs
and no antibodies in the plasma.
4. Blood Group O has no red cell antigens but contain both anti-A and anti-B
in the plasma.
The donors red cells must be compatible with the recipients plasma.
Blood transfusions between donor and recipient of incompatible blood types can cause
lethal immunological reactions in which antibodies become highly active by attacking
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RBCs, hemolysis (RBC destruction), clumping together of RBCs which can block small
blood vessels leading to renal failure, and sometimes death.

Rhesus factor (Rh factor):

Another type of antigen is found on the membrane of most RBCs called Rh factor.
Rh blood types were discovered in 1940 by Karl Landsteiner and Alexander
The Rh system was named after rhesus monkeys, since they were initially used in the
research to make the antiserum for typing blood samples.
If the antiserum agglutinates your red cells, you are Rh+ (Rh positive) while if it
doesn't, you are Rh- (Rh negative).
Therefore, individuals with Rh factor on their RBCs are called Rh-positive (Rh+) while
individuals with no Rh factor on their RBCs are called Rh-negative (Rh-).

Rh negative patients can receive on first blood transfusion from a donor with Rh
positive blood without harm as the patients blood plasma doesnt have antibodies
to react with the incoming donors RBCs antigen; but the second transfusion may
be dangerous because the patients blood plasma developed anti-Rh-antibodies.
Blood with Rh negative can be transfused into Rh positive patients in any
number of times without harm.
Often Rh negative pregnant woman carries a fetus with a different Rh blood type to
herself (Rh positive fetus) and sometime after the second succeeding pregnancy
with a Rh positive fetus; the mother with Rh-negative forms antibodies (anti-Rhantibodies) and attack the blood of an Rh-positive fetus in her second pregnancy.
The mothers Rh antibodies destroy some of the fetal red blood cells which cause
hemolytic anemia (hemolytic disease), where red blood cells of the fetus are
destroyed faster than the body can replace them. Severe hemolytic anemia may

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even be fatal to the fetus. This condition is also known as erythroblastosis fetalis
or Rh disease.

The Lymphatic System:

system is a network of vessels that
serves as a drainage system for the body
With the help of any valuable sources, find out any procedure or
system is ato
that returns
the Rh factor problems which always faces a
excess interstitial
fluid) fromRBCs
the in her second pregnancy with Rhpositive
spaces between
cells in form of lymph
fluid and returns it to the bloodstream.
The lymphatic system consists of a network of
vessels called lymph vessels, lymph
capillaries, lymph fluid, lymph nodes, spleen,
tonsils and thymus.

Formation of interstitial fluid (tissue fluid):

Blood that enters the arterial end of capillaries is under high pressure, the pressure
(hydrostatic pressure) is sufficient to cause fluid leak continuously from blood to spaces
between cells.
**What is interstitial fluid?
Fluid that fills the spaces between the cells.
Interstitial fluid is also known as tissue fluid.
Composition of interstitial fluid
Interstitial fluid or tissue fluid consists of:
- Water
- dissolved nutrients
- hormones
- waste products
- gases
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small protein from blood

leucocytes ( that can seep out through the openings between the capillaries cells )

As they are TOO LARGE to pass through capillaries, interstitial fluid or tissue fluid does
not consist of:
- plasma proteins ( albumin, fibrinogen, globulin )
- erythrocytes
- platelets
Importance of interstitial fluid:
a. Important to cell because through this fluid that exchanges material between
blood capillaries & cells occurs
b. Nutrient & oxygen diffuse through interstitial fluid into body cells.
c. Carbon Dioxide and waste product diffuse through interstitial fluid into the
What is lymph?
Interstitial fluid that is not absorbed back to the bloodstream drains into the LYMPH
CAPILLARIES. This collected fluid is known as Lymph. Lymph is a transparent
yellowish fluid.
Lymph also contains tiny droplets of lipids.
-The intestinal lining of the small intestine is covered by villi
-villi contain lacteals
-lacteals are lymph capillaries (droplets of lipid and fat-soluble vitamins are transported
to the bloodstream)
Lymph capillaries collects excess interstitial fluid from the spaces of the cells in a form
of a yellow fluid known as lymph fluid as the lymph capillaries unite to form lymphatic
vessels (lymph vessels).
Lymphatic vessels have valves to:
1. Ensure the continues flow of the lymph away from the tissues
2. Prevent back flow of the lymph fluid

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Lymphatic system does not have its pumps to move the lymph fluid around through the
lymphatic vessels. It moves to the subclavian veins with the help of:1. One-way valves,
2. Muscular contraction
3. Intestinal movements, and
4. Pressure changes that occur during inhalation& exhalation.
This system allows the lymph fluid to pass through the lymph nodes.
Lymph fluid flows into lymph nodes through AFFERENT lymphatic vessels and after
filtration of the lymph fluid, it passes out of the lymph nodes through EFFERENT
lymphatic vessels.
Lymph nodes are oval shaped gland-like structure resemble like seeds, range in size
from 1-25mm in length and found at intervals along the lymphatic vessels.
o Lymph nodes filter microbes and other foreign particles out of the lymph fluid
and then destroy them.
o Lymph nodes store and produce White Blood Cells, e.g. Lymphocytes
o Lymph nodes are important part of the defense system; they defend the body
against infection.
o Lymph nodes often swell up in times of infections.
Lymph nodes are found at the armpits, the neck, back of the knees, and the
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From the lymphatic vessels, lymph will eventually passes one of two main
channels which are either.
a) Thoracic duct, or
b) Right lymphatic duct.

Example about the path of lymph fluid in lymphatic system:

The following diagram shows the relationship between lymphatic system and circulatory.

Role of the lymphatic system in transport:

1 Carry excessive interstitial fluid back to the bloodstream
2 Helps to maintain the balance of fluid in body
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3 The process is crucial because water, nutrients and other molecules continuously
leak out of blood capillaries into the surrounding body tissues.
If interstitial fluids not returned to the circulatory system, will cause:
swollen of body tissues ( because too much fluid is retained)
Oedema ( condition of excessive accumulation of interstitial fluid in the spaces
between the cells, cause by a blocked lymphatic vessel)
Major Lymphatic Organs (Lymphoid Organs):
1. Tonsils:
2. Thymus Gland:
3. Spleen:

Functions of the Lymphatic System

1. Transport of fatty acids from the small intestine by lymph capillaries called

The walls of lymph capillaries are more permeable than the walls of the blood
capillaries, so large molecules such as fats can pass through them.

2. Return of fluid (tissue fluid) to the blood circulation.


Not all of the tissue fluid returns to the blood capillary, only 90% of the tissue
fluid carrying carbon dioxide moves back into the capillaries under the process
of osmotic pressure, while the remaining 10% of the tissue fluid in the form
of lymph fluid enters a separate system of capillaries called the lymph
capillaries which are part of the lymph system.

3. In immunity system, T-lymphocytes travel through the lymphatic system.


T-lymphocytes initially pass to the thymus (a lymph gland in the neck) where
they are activated (thymus gland develops mature T-lymphocytes).

T-lymphocytes then migrate to the spleen and lymph nodes where they are
stored to. T-lymphocytes recognize and attack a particular type of antigen.

4. Filtration of foreign matter in lymph nodes

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