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Ann Lab Med. 2018 Jan;38(1):32-38. English. Original Article.
Kim B , Lee ST , Kim S , Choi JR , Kim HO .
Department of Laboratory Medicine, National Health Insurance Service Ilsan Hospital, Goyang, Korea.
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


The DEL blood type, a very weak D variant, is a major concern in the field of transfusion medicine because of its potential to cause anti-D alloimmunization. We investigated the molecular basis of serologically D-negative phenotypes, including the DEL type, and the distribution of other blood group systems in the Korean population using the recently developed multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) assay.


Blood group genotyping using the MLPA assay and RhCE phenotyping were performed on randomly selected 95 D-negative red blood cell products. The MLPA results were verified by multiplex PCR for the RHD promoter, exons 4, 7, and 10 and by direct sequencing of RHD exon 9.


Out of 95 cases, total deletion of the RHD was observed in 74 cases (77.9%) and four cases (4.2%) had an RHD-CE-D hybrid allele. The other 17 cases (17.9%) had an RHD(1227G>A) allele, which was further confirmed by sequencing analysis. The RhCE phenotypes of RHD(1227G>A) alleles were composed of 14 Cce and 3 CcEe, and all 60 cases of the ce phenotype were revealed to have a total deletion of the RHD. Genotyping results and allele distribution of the other 17 blood group systems were consistent with previous reports on the East Asian population.


MLPA assay correctly determined RHD genotype, including RHD-CE-D hybrid alleles or RHD(1227G>A) allele, and other clinically relevant blood group genotypes in D-negative Koreans. The use of MLPA assay on serologically D-negative individuals may help improve transfusion safety by preventing anti-D alloimmunization.

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.