Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 59  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 15-20

Detection of fetal mutations causing hemoglobinopathies by non-invasive prenatal diagnosis from maternal plasma

Department of Haematogenetics, National Institute of Immunohaematology (ICMR), K.E.M. Hospital Campus, Parel, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
R B Colah
Department of Haematogenetics, National Institute of Immunohaematology (ICMR), K.E.M. Hospital Campus, Parel, Mumbai, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: Indian Council of Medical Research, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0022-3859.109483

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Background: Prenatal diagnosis of hemoglobinopathies enables couples at risk to have a healthy child. Currently used fetal sampling procedures are invasive with some risk of miscarriage. A non-invasive approach to obtain fetal deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) for diagnosis would eliminate this risk. Aim: To develop and evaluate a non-invasive prenatal diagnostic approach for hemoglobinopathies using cell-free fetal DNA circulating in the maternal plasma. Settings and Design: Couples referred to us for prenatal diagnosis of hemoglobinopathies where the maternal and paternal mutations were different were included in the study. Materials and Methods: Maternal peripheral blood was collected at different periods of gestation before the invasive fetal sampling procedure was done. The blood was centrifuged to isolate the plasma and prepare DNA. A size separation approach was used to isolate fetal DNA. Nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based protocols were developed for detection of the presence or absence of the paternal mutation. Results and Conclusions: There were 30 couples where the parental mutations were different. Of these, in 14 cases the paternal mutation was absent and in 16 cases it was present in the fetus. Using cell-free fetal DNA from maternal plasma, the absence of the paternal mutation was accurately determined in 12 of the 14 cases and the presence of the paternal mutation was correctly identified in 12 of the 16 cases. Thus, this non-invasive approach gave comparable results to those obtained by the conventional invasive fetal sampling methods in 24 cases giving an accuracy of 80.0%. Although the nested PCR approach enabled amplification of small quantities of cell-free DNA from maternal plasma at different periods of gestation after size separation to eliminate the more abundant maternal DNA, an accurate diagnosis of the presence or absence of the paternal mutation in the fetus was not possible in all cases to make it clinically applicable.


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Online since 12th February '04
2004 - Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
Official Publication of the Staff Society of the Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow