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Disease Profile

Rh deficiency syndrome

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.


US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset

No data available




Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)

Rh-null syndrome


Blood Diseases; Congenital and Genetic Diseases


The Rh deficiency syndrome, also known as Rh-null syndrome, is a blood disorder where people have red blood cells (RBCs) lacking all Rh antigens. The Rh antigens maintain the integrity of the RBC membrane and therefore, RBCs which lack Rh antigens have an abnormal shape. There are two types of Rh deficiency syndrome:[1]

  • The regulator type is associated with many different changes (mutations) in the RHAG gene
  • The amorph type is caused by inactive copies of a gene (silent alleles) at the RH locus.

As a result, the RBCs do not express any of the Rh antigens. The absence of the Rh complex alters the RBC shape, increases its tendency to break down (osmotic fragility), and shortens its lifespan, resulting in a hemolytic anemia that is usually mild. These patients are at risk of having adverse transfusion reactions because they may produce antibodies against several of the Rh antigens and can only receive blood from people who have the same condition. Rh deficiency syndrome is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner.[2] Management is individualized according to the severity of hemolytic anemia.[3]

Learn more

These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

In-Depth Information

  • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge.


  1. Kleinman S. A primer of red blood cell antigens and antibodies. UpToDate. April 11, 2014; https://www.uptodate.com/contents/a-primer-of-red-blood-cell-antigens-and-antibodies.
  2. Huang CH, Chen Y, Reid ME & Seidl C. Rhnull disease: the amorph type results from a novel double mutation in RhCe gene on D-negative background. Blood. July, 1998; 15;92(2):664-71.. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9657769.
  3. Brugnara C. Stomatocytosis and xerocytosis. UpToDate. February 2, 2016; https://www.uptodate.com/contents/stomatocytosis-and-xerocytosis.