Recently in my Physiology class, I learned that antigens help the immune system differentiate between the body's own cells and foreign cells.

This led me to this question: If people with type O- blood, (and the extremely rare Rhnull), have less antigens on the surface of their blood cells, would that give the immune system less ways to identify friendly cells, and cause a higher risk for autoimmune diseases?

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    $\begingroup$ "Antigens" is just a fancy term for "pieces of molecules". People with type O- blood vs. type A+ blood may have different molecules on some of their cells, but I'm not sure that means fewer molecules. In any case, the circulating immune system is looking for antigens that it's never seen before in order to attack them, rather than looking for antigens it HAS seen in order to not attack them. In theory, even if it were possible to have no antigens at all (it's not) such a cell wouldn't be attacked, so autoimmunity is not an issue here. $\endgroup$
    – Armand
    Oct 6, 2021 at 4:49


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