The predominant immunoglobulin class for the B antibodies produced by individuals with group A phenotype and the A antibodies produced by individuals with group B phenotype is IgM. Small quantities of IgG and IgA may also be present.
The ABO antibodies found in the serum of group O individuals include anti-A and anti-B. An antibody designated anti-A,B is also present. Anti-A,B in group O individuals tends to be predominantly IgG, although IgM and IgA components are also present.
Infants of group O mothers are at higher risk for hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn (HDFN) than those born to mothers with group A or B because IgG immunoglobulins readily cross the placenta. IgM molecules do not cross the placenta because of their larger size; however, the HDFN that results is usually mild and often subclinical. Infants generally survive with little or no intervention.
It is important to note that immune antibodies are usually IgG. Both naturally occurring and immune ABO antibodies are critically important in transfusion since both sensitize, and usually hemolyze, red cells with the corresponding antigen.