Autoadsorption is an advanced blood banking technique that is most often useful in the workup of warm autoantibodies. Usually, warm autoantibodies react very well against everyone’s RBCs, making antibody identification difficult because all of the cells on an antibody detection test or panel are incompatible with the patient’s serum. As a result, identifying an alloantibody can be very difficult, since the autoantibody “masks” the visibility of the alloantibody.
In the example below, imagine a patient with a warm autoantibody and anti-K. The initial sample (panel 1) has autoantibody coating the patient’s RBCs as well as in the plasma, and anti-K floating around in the plasma. The patient’s RBCs are separated, treated to remove the autoantibody (using chemical or temperature methods), and incubated with the plasma (panel 2). The autoantibody should bind to the patient’s own RBCs, then, when the RBCs are removed by centrifugation, the anti-K present in the “adsorbed serum” should be left behind and could then be detected by testing (panel 3).
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