Anti-D investigations in individuals expressing weak D Type 1 or weak D Type 2: allo- or autoantibodies?

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Whether anti-D produced by individuals with a weak D phenotype are allo- or autoantibodies remains a matter of debate even though blood transfusion practice is impacted. The aim of our study was to determine the serologic features of anti-D in individuals expressing the most frequent weak D type in Caucasians that are weak D Type 1 or weak D Type 2, to assess whether anti-D were allo- or autoantibodies.


Serologic D typing and molecular analysis enabled the including of 121 weak D Type 1 individuals and 99 weak D Type 2 individuals in our study. Serologic features of anti-D included autologous controls, direct antiglobulin test, elution, and titration of anti-D before and after adsorption of serum on autologous red blood cells (RBCs).


Serologic D typing showed a variable reactivity of RBCs expressing weak D Type 1 or weak D Type 2 (4+ to 0). Anti-D was identified in six weak D Type 1 and six weak D Type 2 individuals, respectively. The serologic data were in favor of autoantibodies.


A complete anti-D investigation in individuals with a D variant (weak D or partial D identified by molecular analysis) should be systematically performed before any valid conclusion on the nature of the antibody. Transfusing weak D Type 1 or weak D Type 2 patients with D+ RBC units should be recommended. Weak D Type 1 or weak D Type 2 pregnant women do not need anti-D immunoprophylaxis.

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