Caucasians Information and Courses from MediaLab, Inc.
These are the MediaLab courses that cover Caucasians and links to relevant pages within the course.
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|Autoimmune Disease (continued)|
Why our immune system malfunctions is not completely understood. One current hypothesis is that the following series of events occurs resulting in the initiation of an autoimmune reaction. Gender and Genetic PredispositionA predisposition is usually the first step toward the development of an autoimmune reaction. Women are more likely to develop a systemic autoimmune disease than men. For example in SLE the female to male ratio is 9:1. The genotype of some individuals predetermines that their immune system will be more prone to a break in tolerance. This genetic susceptibility appears to be linked to multiple genes rather than a single gene. This is supported by evidence that some autoimmune diseases are more frequently encountered in certain ethnic groups compared to others. For example in American women between the ages of 15 and 64, the prevalence of SLE is 1 in 700 for Caucasians while it is 1 in 245 for African-American women.(Ref1) Evidence in one recent study suggests that the genes that impart an increased resistance to malaria unfortunately produce an increased susceptibility to the systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases.(Ref2)Triggering eventThe second step is the occurrence of a triggering event that leads to a break in tolerance. For some very susceptible individuals this event might be exposure to an environmental trigger. These environmental triggers could be ubiquitous such as exposure to the Epstein Barr virus (EBV), or very limited, such as the exposure to leaking silicon from a breast implant. In others, the triggering event might be a change in hormonal balance. Whatever the case, the triggering event initiates the break in tolerance and the cascade of immunological events that eventually lead to the formation of an autoimmune disease begins.Development of autoantibodiesThe third step is the development of autoantibodies and subsequent development of clinical symptoms. Studies have shown that this process can take 3 years or longer and unfortunately, by the time the diagnosis is made, substantial damage to the body may have already occurred.
|Typical Case of Rh HDFN (Prior to RhIg)|
RhIg became widely available in 1968. Prior to that, HDFN due to anti-D typically developed as described below. Cases were much more prevalent in Caucasians due to the relative incidence of the D antigen in various populations, For example, approximate incidence of D+ individuals: Caucasians (European ancestry): ~85% African-Americans: ~93% Asians: ~99%In the first pregnancy, Rh positive fetal red cells enter the maternal circulation during the pregnancy and/or at delivery. The mother has a 1o immune response in which mainly IgM antibody is produced, with lower levels of IgG anti-D produced. Thus the first infant is rarely affected because: Larger fetal bleeds occur at delivery and these are more likely to cause antibody production than smaller antenatal bleeds. Antibody is produced slowly and is mostly IgM. In the second pregnancy, if the fetus is again D-positive, when fetal cells enter the mother, they cause a 2o immune response in which higher levels of IgG anti-D are produced. Depending on the antibody titer, the second child may suffer mild to severe HDN. If a third or fourth pregnancy results in D-positive infants, these infants (by also bleeding into the mother) cause the production of even higher titers of IgG anti-D and offspring will be more severely affected, perhaps dying in utero or soon after birth, if untreated.
|ABO HDFN - Etiology and Symptoms|
ABO HDFN is the most common type of HDFN, in that anti-A is the antibody most often found bound to the red cells of a newborn. While the disease is usually so mild as to not require treatment, severe HDFN is possible. EtiologyABO HDFN is caused by maternal IgG anti-A or anti-B, which can be produced as a result of prior pregnancy or prior inoculation (some common inoculations contain A or B substances). In Caucasians, most often the mother is group O and the child is group A, although other combinations are possible. Group O people tend to produce IgG ABO antibodies more commonly than other blood groups.Just as in other types of HDFN, maternal IgG antibody crosses the placenta and destroys fetal red cells.SymptomsTypical symptoms of ABO HDFN include mild anemia and especially jaundice appearing in the first 24 hours. In rare severe cases the infant can have the more severe symptoms of Rh HDFN, except that prenatal death is unlikely. Rationales to explain the mild nature of ABO HDFN include Fewer A and B antigens on fetal cells Poorly developed fetal A and B antigens Presence of A and B antigens on cells and tissues other than red cells
Immunogenicity is the ability of an antigen to provoke an immune response in an antigen-negative recipient. Why some antigens are more immunogenic than others is unknown. Not considering antigens in the ABO system, Rh(D) is the most immunogenic red cell antigen, followed by K in the Kell blood group system. Other immunogenic antigens include c and E in the Rh system. In routine blood banking, assessments of an antigen's immunogenicity are typically based on the prevalence of the corresponding antibody and do not take into account the frequency of the antigen in the general population. For example, k in the Kell system may be very immunogenic but anti-k is rare since 99.8% of Caucasians are k+ and cannot make anti-k.
Immunogenicity is the ability of an antigen to provoke an immune response in an antigen-negative recipient. Why some antigens are more immunogenic than others is unknown. Not considering antigens in the ABO system, Rh(D) is the most immunogenic red cell antigen, followed by K in the Kell blood group system. Other immunogenic antigens include c and E in the Rh system. In routine blood banking assessments of an antigen's immunogenicity are typically based on the prevalence of the corresponding antibody and do not take into account the frequency of the antigen in the general population. For example, k in the Kell system may be very immunogenic but anti-k is rare since 99.8% of Caucasians are k+ and cannot make anti-k.