Prevalence of Rh Antigens among voluntary blood donors in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Chitra M., Jagannathan S. Y., Arumugam P., Ravishankar J.


Background: The Rh blood group system is the most polymorphic of the human blood groups and is the most clinically significant in transfusion medicine next to ABO system. The aim of the study was to find out the prevalence of 5 major types of Rh antigens in voluntary blood donors, to determine the Rh composition of the population in Chennai and to generate a database of donors for all future activities.

Methods: This study was carried out over a period of 3 months from August 2015 to October 2015 on 100 healthy voluntary blood donors who attended the Department of Transfusion Medicine, The Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University, Guindy, Chennai Tamil Nadu, India. Determination of Rhesus antigens (Rh) was done by the Hemagglutination test using the conventional tube technique.

Results: Our study on prevalence of Rh antigens among voluntary blood donors showed D-91%, C-84%, E-25%, c-67%, e-98% and ‘e’ (98%) was the most common antigen, followed by D (91%).Regarding predicted Rh phenotypes, DCe/DCe (R1R1) 35% was the most common predicted phenotype and dce/dce (rr) 7% was the most common predicted phenotype among Rh negatives. DcE/DcE (R2R2) 2% and dCe/dce (r’r) 2% were the rare predicted phenotypes observed in our study.

Conclusions: This study helped us in establishing a database of donors for future preparation of indigenous cell panels and to provide antigen negative compatible blood to multi transfused patients with problems of alloimmunization.


Alloimmunization, Hemagglutination test, Rh blood group, Rh phenotype

Full Text:



Avent ND, Reid ME. The Rh blood group system: a review. Blood. 2000;95:375-87.

Johnson ST, Wiler M. Rh Blood Group System. Harmening DM. Modern Blood Banking and Transfusion Practices. 6thed. Philadelphia: FA Davis Company. 2012:149-71.

Westhoff CM, Siegel DL. Rh and LW Blood Group Antigens. Simon TL, Snyder EL, Solheim BG et al. Rossi’s Principles of Transfusion Medicine. 4thed. A John Wiley & ons, Ltd. Publication. 2009:109-20.

Ridgwell K, Spurr NK, Laguda B, MacGeoch C, Avent ND, Tanner MJ. Isolation of cDNA clones for a 50 kDa glycoprotein of the human erythrocyte membrane associated with Rh(rhesus) blood-group antigen expression. Biochem J. 1992;287:223-8.

Avent ND, Ridgwell K, Tanner MJA cDNA cloning of a 30 kDa erythrocyte membrane protein associated with Rh (Rhesus)-blood group antigen expression. Biochem J. 1990;271:821-5.

Thakral B, Saluja K, Sharma RR, Marwaha N. Phenotypefrequencies of blood group systems (Rh, Kell, Kidd, Duffy,MNS, P, Lewis, and Lutheran) in north Indian blood donors. Transf Aph Scien. 2010;43:17e22.

Brecher ME. Technical Manual. 15th ed. Maryland, USA: American Association Of Blood Banks. 2005:223e240:315e334.

Daniels G. Human Blood Groups. 2nd ed. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Science. 2002.

Sarkar RS, Philip J, Mallhi RS, Yadav P. Proportion of Rh phenotypes in voluntary blood donors. Med J Armed Forces India. 2013;69(4):330-4.