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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Introduction to the ABO Blood Group System. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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The History of the ABO System, continued

Landsteiner realized that “natural” antibodies develop that are directed against antigens not present on the red cells. Individuals with “A” antigens on their red cells had sera containing “Anti-B” antibody. Individuals with “B” antigens had sera containing “Anti-A," and “O” individuals’ sera contained “Anti-A” and “Anti-B.”
Subsequent researchers determined that “AB” individuals had sera with no ABO antibodies present and sera from group O individuals may also contain a separate antibody, “Anti-A,B.” Anti-A,B possesses serologic activity not found in mixtures of Anti-A and Anti-B. Anti-A,B sera will agglutinate A, B, and AB cells. (This is particularly useful in detecting weak A and B antigens). See the table on the next page.