The Rh antigen D: partial D antigens and associated low incidence antigens

Vox Sang. 1996;70(3):123-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1423-0410.1996.tb01309.x.


The expression of the Rh antigen D varies quantitatively and qualitatively (partial D); published information and 15 years' work studying D variants are discussed in this review. D epitopes correspond to the reaction patterns of monoclonal anti-D with partial D antigens. Partial D antigens can be reported in terms of their D epitopes but the epitope profile of cells with a quantitative variant of D (weak D) is difficult to determine reliably by haemagglutination tests. Nine partial D antigens, categories II-VII, DFR and two not previously reported, are identified by their epitope profiles and by association with low incidence antigens. Monoclonal anti-D recognize 16 D epitopes and more epitopes are anticipated. The specificities of polyclonal anti-D made by people with partial D antigens are considered in terms of possible D epitope specificities: recognized epitope specificities, or combination thereof, were not able to account for all observed reaction patterns of anti-D made by immunized individuals with partial D phenotypes. An attempt is made to understand partial D antigens and their associated low incidence antigens in terms of the molecular genetic information available.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • African Continental Ancestry Group / genetics
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group / genetics
  • Epitopes / analysis
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / genetics
  • Humans
  • Rh-Hr Blood-Group System* / genetics
  • Rh-Hr Blood-Group System* / immunology


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Epitopes
  • Rh-Hr Blood-Group System
  • Rho(D) antigen