Beyond immunohaematology: the role of the ABO blood group in human diseases

The antigens of the ABO blood group system (A, B and H determinants, respectively) are complex carbohydrate molecules on the extracellular surface of red blood cell membranes1. However, along with their expression on red blood cells, ABO antigens are also highly expressed on the surface of a variety of human cells and tissues, including the epithelium, sensory neurons, platelets, and the vascular endothelium2. Thus, the clinical significance of the ABO blood group system extends beyond transfusion medicine and several reports have suggested an important involvement in the development of cardiovascular, oncological and other diseases3

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