Do Kell-1 antigens lead to HIV?
Q: I am a 31 years old male. During a blood transfusion 13 years back, I came to know that I have Kell-1 and lately, I discovered that I am also HIV positive. What is the relation between Kell-1 and HIV infection? To add, I am losing sensation in my left leg. I have also lost weight. Please help.
A:The Kell antigen system (also known as Kell-Cellano system) is a group of antigens on the human red blood cell surface, which are important determinants of blood type and are targets for autoimmune or alloimmune diseases, which destroy red blood cells. Kell antigens are highly immunogenic and known to cause hemolytic transfusion reaction and hemolytic disease in the new borns. Two antigens K (K1) and K (K2) or cellano (k) have been identified. Incidence of Kell antigen (K) in India is reported to be 0.3-0.7%, where as cellano (k) is a high frequency antigen (>99% incidence). Kpa (K3), Kph (1(4), Jsa (K6) and Jsb (1(7) are other antigens of this system consisting of 23 Kell antigens. In Ko (Kell null), all Kell system antigens are absent. As the Kell system consists of numerous antigens, it has become very complex and now a numerical nomenclature has been introduced. The Kell protein has also recently been designated CD238 . While Kell antigens are important in transfusion medicine, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, and hemolytic disease of the newborn, their involvement in HIV infection is still a matter of debate. No concrete data is available to say that there is any specific interaction between Kell antigens and AIDS virus. As far as your losing feeling and use of left leg and left foot and losing weight are concerned, they would need evaluation with the doctor and also investigations. They could perhaps be a part of the HIV illness or some other problem, which will definitely need evaluation.