Karl Landsteiner

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Landsteiner, Karl

(kärl länt`shtīnər), 1868–1943, American medical research worker, b. Vienna, M.D. Univ. of Vienna, 1891. In 1922 he came to the United States to join the staff of the Rockefeller Institute (now Rockefeller Univ.). He later became a U.S. citizen. For his discovery of human blood groupsblood groups,
differentiation of blood by type, classified according to immunological (antigenic) properties, which are determined by specific substances on the surface of red blood cells.
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 he won the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. As a result of his research in immunology and the chemistry of antigens and serological reactions, he made valuable contributions in hemolysis and in methods of studying poliomyelitis. In 1940 he identified, in collaboration with A. S. Wiener, the Rh factorRh factor,
protein substance present in the red blood cells of most people, capable of inducing intense antigenic reactions. The Rh, or rhesus, factor was discovered in 1940 by K. Landsteiner and A. S.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Landsteiner, Karl


Born June 14, 1868, in Baden (near Vienna); died June 26, 1943, in New York. Austrian immunologist.

Landsteiner graduated from the medical school of the University of Vienna in 1891. In 1922 he became a professor of pathology and bacteriology at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York.

Landsteiner was the founder of immunohematology. In 1900, together with J. Jansky, he discovered blood groups in man. He discovered the Rh factor with A. Wiener in 1940. With E. Popper, he proved the infectious nature of poliomyelitis. Land-steiner’s major works dealt with immunology and immu-nochemistry. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1930.


Die Spezifizitä t der serologischen Reaktionen. Berlin, 1933. (Bibliography.)


Speiser, P. Karl Landsteiner: Entdecker der Blutgruppen. Vienna [1961].
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Landsteiner, Karl

(1868–1943) immunologist; born in Vienna, Austria. He was a microbiologist and immunologist in Europe (1891–1922). He discovered the four basic human blood groups—A, B, O, and AB (1900). He also designed (with Julius Donath) the Donath-Landsteiner test for the red cell disease paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (1904), developed darkfield microscopy for the diagnosis of syphilis (1905–06), proposed a viral origin for poliomyelitis (1909–12), and demonstrated the existence of haptens, small-molecular-weight antigens conjugated to a larger protein carrier (1918–20). In 1922 he came to the U.S.A. to the Rockefeller Institute (now Rockefeller University) (1922–39), where he and Philip Levine discovered the blood factors M, N, and P. For his blood group research, Landsteiner won the 1930 Nobel Prize in physiology. In 1940, he and Alexander Wiener discovered the rhesus (Rh) factor in human blood and developed serological tests necessary to avoid Rh-mediated transfusion reactions or neonatal illness. From 1930–32, Landsteiner propagated the typhus organism in living cultures, and, remaining active after retirement, demonstrated that drug allergy is an immunological process (1935–41).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.