ABO Antibodies and Aging

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Introduction to the ABO Blood Group System. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

Learn more about Introduction to the ABO Blood Group System (online CE course)
ABO Antibodies and Aging

ABO antibodies are not usually produced by an infant until 3 to 6 months of age. Antibodies found in the sera of newborns are almost always IgG, passively acquired from the mother. For this reason, serum testing of newborns to determine ABO grouping is not performed. Anti-A and anti-B titers are highest at ages 5-10 years and then they gradually decrease. Thus, in elderly patients, ABO antibodies may be difficult to detect. In patients with hypogammaglobulinemia, some leukemias, lymphomas, or patients who are taking immunosuppressive drugs, the expected antibodies may be weak or even absent, reflecting the low levels of gamma globulin in the patient's serum. These and other ABO typing discrepancies must be resolved before a true ABO group can be determined.