An antibody that reacts against all reagent cells in an antibody panel, rather than against one or more specific cells. Panagglutinins are most commonly autoantibodies, especially warm autoantibodies, but may also be alloantibodies targeted against high-frequency red cell antigens (antigens present on just about everyone else’s RBCs). If the patient has not been recently transfused, the autocontrol can assist in this distinction.

One question learners often have when hearing this term is, “wait, is it a panagglutinin or is it an autoantibody?” Remember, the term “panagglutinin” is really a description rather than a definition. What I mean is that blood bankers often use the term to describe how the reactions look, not to say what the pattern means. A reference lab or transfusion service laboratory scientist might say, “this patient has a panagglutinin,” but what they mean is, “this patient’s  serum/plasma reacts against all reagent cells in the antibody panel.” The worker then must further define, if possible, what is causing the pattern. See the links above (especially the one for warm autoantibodies) for more on that distinction.


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