Determinants of ABH expression on human blood platelets

Laura L.W. Cooling, Kathleen Kelly, James Barton, Debbie Hwang, Theodore A.W. Koerner, John D. Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Platelets express ABH antigens, which can adversely effect platelet transfusion recovery and survival in ABH-incompatible recipients. To date, there has been no large, comprehensive study comparing specific donor factors with ABH expression on platelet membranes and glycoconjugates. We studied ABH expression in 166 group A apheresis platelet donors by flow cytometry, Western blotting, and thin layer chromatography relative to donor age, sex, A 1/A2 subgroup, and Lewis phenotype. Overall, A antigen on platelet membranes, glycoproteins, and glycosphingolipids was linked to an A1 red blood cell (RBC) phenotype. Among A1 donors, platelet ABH varied significantly between donors (0%-87%). Intradonor variability, however, was minimal, suggesting that platelet ABH expression is a stable, donor-specific characteristic, with 5% of A1 donors typing as either ABH high- or low-expressers. Group A2 donors, in contrast, possessed a Bombay-like phenotype, lacking both A and H antigens. Unlike RBCs, ABH expression on platelets may be determined primarily by H-glycosyltransferase (FUT1) activity. Identification of A2 and A1 low expressers may increase the availability and selection of crossmatched and HLA-matched platelets. Platelets from group A2 may also be a superior product for patients undergoing A/O major mismatch allogeneic progenitor cell transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3356-3364
Number of pages9
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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