Leeuwenhoek had stolen and peeped into the fantastic sub-visible world of little things, creatures that had lived, had bred, had battled, had died, completely hidden from and unknown to all men from the beginning of time. Beasts these were of a kind that ravaged and annihilated whole races of men ten million times larger than they were themselves. Beings these were, more terrible than fire-spitting dragons or hydra-headed monsters. They were silent assassins that murdered babies in warm cradles and kings in sheltered places. It was this invisible, insignificant, but implacable-and sometimes friendly- world Leeuwenhoek had looked into for the first time of all men of all countries. ~Microbe Hunters

Monday, 1 April 2013

Antigen-Antibody Reactions

ITS THE A-Z CHALLENGE!!! Are you ready for some Med Lab- related posts? I hope you have your notebook ready to take notes or a pillow ready to fall asleep!

Antigens are proteins found on the surface of any foreign particle (i.e. bacteria, blood, virus) that can activate an immune response. Antibodies are proteins made by B cells in the immune system (or in the lab) that recognize certain antigens.  One can use the known reaction between the two to preform serological testing to find out whether a patient is presenting with either a specific antibody, using antigens, or an antigen, using antibodies. For example, in testing for HIV, you would run a test to determine whether the patient has the HIV antibody in their blood.

Another thing that relies on the interaction of these proteins are blood transfusions. Our blood type, for example, is described by the antigens present on our blood cells. AB+ means antigen A, B and Rh + are found on your blood cells. O- means that you don’t possess those antigens, making it the universal donor. People with O- blood grouping are always in great need for an urgent trauma case or other unexpected need. There are many other unique antigens present on blood cells, which actually make receiving a transfusion dangerous, thus, the last resort. The lab takes their time to try and match as many of these antigens as they can as to not harm the recipient. However, with each transfusion, the number of antibodies that the recipient develops against these antigens, makes subsequent transfusions more risky. It’s kind of like the Rh antigen reaction when an Rh– mother gives birth to an Rh+ child. The mother may develop antibodies against that Rh+ antigen through blood exposure during birth.  Each subsequent Rh+ child is at risk to be attacked by the mother’s antibodies. 


Darn good and sure of it,

adot

6 comments:

  1. This is quite interesting...I am an O+ blood type, and now I understand more of what that means. Thanks!

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    1. I'm glad you learned something! It's always it fun to spook your friends with random knowledge :p

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  2. That is so cool. I wish I'd done biology instead of physics.
    I'll definitely be back for more. :_)

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    1. I'm glad you find it interesting :) I always think it's easier to learn if it interests you. Physics takes a special brain, though!

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  3. Fascinating. Interesting challenge theme. Good luck!

    Hi from Nagzilla bloghopping A to Z

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