Red blood cell alloimmunization: New findings at the bench and new recommendations for the bedside

Jeanne E. Hendrickson*, Stephanie C. Eisenbarth, Christopher A. Tormey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Purpose of review To summarize recent discoveries from clinical studies and animal models that contribute to understanding the alloimmune response to non-ABO blood group antigens. Recent findings Several studies have confirmed high rates of alloimmunization among patients requiring chronic red blood cell (RBC) transfusion. Moreover, 'triggers' for alloantibody development in the transfusion setting have been identified, with a number of investigations linking recipient inflammation to a higher likelihood of alloimmunization. Additional associations between human leukocyte antigen expression and CD4+ T-cell markers in 'responder' or 'nonresponder' humans have been revealed. Recent animal studies have described novel mechanistic properties by which the alloimmune response is governed, including the critical role played by dendritic cells in transfusion-associated alloimmunization. New light has also been shed on the properties of alloantibodies developed as a result of pregnancy, as well as mechanisms through which such alloimmunization may be prevented. Summary Many of the clinical/biological factors that contribute to the RBC alloimmune response have been further elucidated. This knowledge will be applied to identify individuals most likely to mount an immune response to RBC antigens, such that appropriate resources and strategies for preventing alloimmunization (or mitigating its harmful effects) can be implemented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-549
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent opinion in hematology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • hemolytic disease of the newborn
  • red blood cell alloimmunization
  • transfusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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