If a person is a chimera and has two different blood types in his veins, how does he not die? Shouldn't the immune system attack one of the blood types?

In 1953 a human chimera was reported in the British Medical Journal. A woman was found to have blood containing two different blood types. Apparently this resulted from her twin brother's cells living in her body. More recently, a study found that such blood group chimerism is not rare.

  • $\begingroup$ Can you please give a reference for this happening? $\endgroup$ – Chris Feb 26 '15 at 17:33
  • $\begingroup$ This is particularly true for the marmoset. Recent research shows most marmosets are chimeras, sharing DNA with their fraternal twins.[5] 95% of Marmoset fraternal twins trade blood through chorionic fusions, making them hematopoietic chimeras.[6][7] $\endgroup$ – curiousman Feb 26 '15 at 17:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Chris Taken from wiki page for chimerism $\endgroup$ – curiousman Feb 26 '15 at 17:37
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    $\begingroup$ If they have both antigens from the beginning, they won't develop antibodies to them. $\endgroup$ – canadianer Feb 26 '15 at 17:42
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    $\begingroup$ That's like people who have bloodgroup AB - if they have this from the beginning, they develop no antibodies. $\endgroup$ – Chris Feb 26 '15 at 18:30

Since these cells are there by the development of the immune system, the immune cells recognize them as self. By blood transfusion with incompatible blood type, the immune system recognizes the blood cells with different histocompatibility antigens (A,B,Rh etc...) as non-self, that's why it attacks them.


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