Secondary anti-D immunization by Del red blood cells

Hiroyasu Yasuda, Hitoshi Ohto, Shizue Sakuma, Yoshihide Ishikawa
Transfusion 2005, 45 (10): 1581-4

BACKGROUND: Recent molecular studies of the RHD gene have revealed that D(el) individuals retain a grossly intact RHD gene or have a portion of RHD in their genomes. No D(el) phenotype has yet been shown to induce a primary or secondary alloanti-D immunization, however.

CASE REPORT: A 67-year-old D- Japanese woman with a history of allosensitization from transfusion of D+ red blood cells (RBCs) was negative for anti-D at admission. After she received RBCs from 19 apparently D- donors, she developed anti-D with an 8-fold titer. The titer of anti-D increased further to 128-fold after transfusions of cross-match-compatible D- negative RBCs from 40 donors over the next 2 years. Two of 59 donors were found to be RHD gene-positive and antigen D- with a D(el) phenotype, that is, RHD(K409K).

CONCLUSION: This is the first case in which RBCs having the D(el) phenotype induced a secondary alloanti-D immunization. A D- donor with the RHD(K409K) allele was associated with the development of anti-D. Adverse episodes or evidence of hemolysis was not observed after the transfusion of RHD(K409K) RBCs. Further clinical evidence is needed to reveal whether the D(el) phenotype has a clinically relevant potential for anti-D immunization.

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