Blood group ABH determinants in human erythrocytes are carried by four kinds of glycolipid carbohydrate chains, differing in their structural complexity. They are Aa, Ab, Ac, and Ad for A variants, and H1, H2, H3, and H4 for H variants (Table I and Fig 1). Based on the surface labeling of A variants and on the reactivity of erythrocytes to antibodies directed against H3 and against its degradation products, it is concluded that complex variants of A or H determinants (Ac and Ad/or H3 and H4) are absent or significantly low in fetal erythrocytes (80-150 days after gestation) and in new born erythrocytes, whereas these complex structures are fully developed in adult erythrocytes. In contrast, A determinants linked to simpler carbohydrate chains (Aa, Ab variants) are fully developed before birth and do not show significant change after birth. The precursor of blood group carbohydrate chains seems to be abundant in fetal or newborn erythrocytes. This assumption is based on the higher reactivity of fetal or newborn erythrocytes to an antibody, which is directed against the precursor N-acetylglucosaminly beta1 leads to 3 galactosyl beta1 leads to 4 glucosylceramide than in adult erythorocytes. Reactions of glycolipids of gastrointestinal mucosa, with antibodies directed against H3 glycolipid and its degradation products, were compared to that of gastrointestinal tumors. The reaction to bela Glc NAc1 leads to 3 beta Gall leads to 4 Glc leads to ceramide (structure 4), which is the precursor of all blood group glycolipids, was consistently high in many cases of tumor glycolipid than that of normal glycolipid. This as well as other evidence supports a general concept that the process of ontogenesis of a blood group carbohydrate chain occurs as step-by-step elongation and arborization, and that blocking of such a development of a carbohydrate chain occurs in the process of oncogenesis.

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