Antigen specificity determines anti-red blood cell IgG-Fc alloantibody glycosylation and thereby severity of haemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn

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SummaryHaemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn (HDFN) is a severe disease in which fetal red blood cells (RBC) are destroyed by maternal anti-RBC IgG alloantibodies. HDFN is most often caused by anti-D but may also occur due to anti-K, -c- or -E. We recently found N-linked glycosylation of anti-D to be skewed towards low fucosylation, thereby increasing the affinity to IgG-Fc receptor IIIa and IIIb, which correlated with HDFN disease severity. Here, we analysed 230 pregnant women with anti-c, -E or –K alloantibodies from a prospective screening cohort and investigated the type of Fc-tail glycosylation of these antibodies in relation to the trigger of immunisation and pregnancy outcome. Anti-c, -E and –K show – independent of the event that had led to immunisation – a different kind of Fc-glycosylation compared to that of the total IgG fraction, but with less pronounced differences compared to anti-D. High Fc-galactosylation and sialylation of anti-c correlated with HDFN disease severity, while low anti-K Fc-fucosylation correlated with severe fetal anaemia. IgG-Fc glycosylation of anti-RBC antibodies is shaped depending on the antigen. These features influence their clinical potency and may therefore be used to predict severity and identify those needing treatment.

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