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Arthritis Rheum. 2004 Mar;50(3):906-14.

Quantification of maternal microchimerism by HLA-specific real-time polymerase chain reaction: studies of healthy women and women with scleroderma.

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  • 1Immunogenetics, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington 98109-1024, USA. nc.lambert@wanadfoo.fr

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Microchimerism (Mc), originating from bidirectional fetal-maternal cell traffic during pregnancy, has recently been identified in healthy adults and in patients with scleroderma (systemic sclerosis [SSc]). This study was undertaken to investigate the frequency and quantitative levels of maternal Mc (MMc) in healthy women and women with SSc.

METHODS:

HLA-specific primers and fluorogenic probes were used in real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction assays to detect and quantify MMc by targeting noninherited, nonshared HLA sequences. DNA-based HLA typing was conducted in 67 proband-mother pairs and in all children if the proband was parous. Statistical analysis was limited to 50 proband-mother pairs (including 32 healthy women and 18 women with SSc) in whom MMc could be distinguished from potential fetal Mc.

RESULTS:

MMc in peripheral blood mononuclear cells was more frequent among women with SSc (72%) than healthy women (22%) (odds ratio 9.3, P = 0.001). However, levels of MMc, expressed as the genome equivalent of maternal cells per million (gEq/mil), were not significantly different (0-68.6 gEq/mil in SSc patients, 0-54.5 in healthy women). In additional studies, positivity for MMc was demonstrated in a bone marrow aspirate from an SSc patient in whom peripheral blood had been found to be negative for MMc on 4 occasions, and tissue from a subsequent autopsy of this patient had MMc levels of 757 and 1,489 gEq/mil in the lung and heart, respectively.

CONCLUSION:

MMc is not uncommon in the peripheral blood of healthy adults, is increased in frequency in patients with SSc, and may be present in bone marrow and disease-affected tissues although absent in the peripheral blood.

PMID:
15022334
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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