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Clin Biochem Rev. 2005 Nov;26(4):135-53.

The relevance of sweat testing for the diagnosis of cystic fibrosis in the genomic era.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biochemical Genetics, Genetic Health Services Victoria, The Royal Children's Hospital, Flemington Road, Parkville VIC 3052, Australia.

Abstract

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common inherited disorder of childhood. The diagnosis of CF has traditionally been based on clinical features with confirmatory evidence by sweat electrolyte analysis. Since 1989 it has been possible to also use gene mutation analysis to aid the diagnosis. Cloning of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene has advanced our understanding of CF, in particular the molecular basis of an expanded CF phenotype. However, because there are over 1000 mutations and 200 polymorphisms, many without recognised effects on CFTR, the molecular diagnosis can be troublesome. This has necessitated measurement of CFTR function with renewed interest in the sweat test. This review provides an overview of the clinical features of CF, the diagnosis and complex genetics. We provide a detailed discussion of the structure and function of CFTR and the classification of CFTR mutations. Sweat electrolyte analysis is discussed, from the physiology of sweating to the rigours of a properly performed sweat test and its interpretation. With this information it is possible to understand the relevance of the sweat test in the genomic era.

PMID:
16648884
[PubMed]
PMCID:
PMC1320177
Free PMC Article

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