• Nitika Mehra

Rare Health Condition | Golden Blood

Updated: Jul 14

Blood type or blood group is a medical term. It describes the type of blood a person has. It is a classification of blood based on the presence or absence of inherited antigenicsubstances on the surface of red blood cells (RBCs). There are a number of human blood group systems. Of these systems, the ABO blood group system and the Rhesus blood group system are the most important. In this system the presence or absence of the A-antigen, the B-antigen and the RhD-antigen are determined.

The Rh blood group system consists of 49 defined blood group antigens, among which the five antigens D, C, c, E, and e are the most important. It is named after the Rhesus monkey where they were first discovered. Rh is an inherited trait, which refers to a protein on the surface of an individual's red blood cells. The Rh factor is separate from, and in addition to, ABO groups. The Rh factor is either present on individual's red blood cells or it is not. Rh positive means the factor is present. Rh negative means it is not present. In blood transfusions it is important that the blood donor and recipient have the same Rh factor and same blood group.

Rhnull individuals have no Rh antigens (no Rh or RhAG) on their red blood cells. This rare condition has been called "Golden Blood". As a consequence of Rh antigen absence, Rhnull red blood cells also lack LW and Fy5 and show weak expression of S, s, and U antigens. Red blood cells lacking Rh/RhAG proteins have structural abnormalities and cell membrane defects that can result in hemolytic anemia. Only 44 individuals have been reported to have it worldwide. Only 9 active donors have been reported. Its properties make it attractive in numerous medical applications, but scarcity makes it expensive to transport and acquire.

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