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March 30, 1970

Fetal and Neonatal Hepatitis

Author Affiliations

Williamston, NC

JAMA. 1970;211(13):2157. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170130053021

To the Editor.—  In 1961 Allison and Blumberg hypothesized that individuals receiving serum proteins of a phenotype different from their own produce antibodies. Subsequent experiment has proved this hypothesis.1It is obvious that when maternal isosensitization to the Rh factor occurs, a simultaneous isosensitization to fetal serum proteins is possible. Maternal isosensitization of fetal serum proteins could occur in the absence of Rh isosensitization. The mother and fetus would be of same Rh type but possess serum proteins of different phenotype.It is now postulated that maternal antibodies resulting from maternal isosensitization to fetal serum proteins are passively transferred to fetal circulation and thereby cause fetal hepatitis. It is possible that the antibodies could also damage other fetal organs.There are well-documented studies of fetal and neonatal hepatitis.2-4 Fetal and neonatal hepatitis has been presumed to be caused by transference of virus B from the maternal carrier to