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Blood group antibodies may not be genetically determined as widely believed, but rather the result of early immunization by substances from intestinal microbes, the work of a Northwestern University microbiologist indicates.
Blood group specific oligosaccharides occur in a variety of bacteria, according to Georg F. Springer, MD. Isolation of these substances in quantity from large bacterial cultures may open the possibility of neutralizing large amounts of anti-A and anti-B antibodies. A wider clinical use for blood of various types might then be feasible.
Fifteen years of experiments ranging from bacteria, plants and viruses to animals and man support his theory, Dr. Springer told JAMAMedical News.
"Blood group ABO active substances, which were originally thought to be confined to human red cells are, in fact, surface structures of almost all cells of living beings from micro organisms to man. They function as receptors."
Dr. Springer, who is a Northwestern professor
Blood Group Antibodies— Result of Early Immunization?. JAMA. 1966;195(9):27. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100090017005