noun, plural: agglutinins

Any substance, usually of biological origin, that causes agglutination or clumping together of cells (e.g. red blood cells) or of bacteria.


Agglutinins in the blood plasma are responsible in making sure that there will be blood cells of only one blood type circulating in a person's body. If blood cells of a different blood type enter the body, agglutinins cause agglutination and destruction of these blood cells. For example people with blood type A have agglutinins b in their blood plasma. Hence, blood transfusion of blood type B will cause agglutinins b to react with the cells and cause agglutination.

Word origin: agglutin(ation) + -in

Related terms: partial agglutinin, group agglutinin, major agglutinin, minor agglutinin, o agglutinin, serum agglutinin, somatic agglutinin.

Compare: agglutinogen.

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