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J Immunol Methods. 2011 Jan 5;363(2):198-209. doi: 10.1016/j.jim.2010.09.039. Epub 2010 Oct 13.

Flow cytometric methods for prenatal and neonatal diagnosis.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Texas, Houston, TX 77026, USA.


Flow cytometry offers a promising alternative to the current methods of amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS) for fetal cell sorting for prenatal diagnosis. While flow cytometric methods have been greatly improved to be more sensitive at detecting fetal cells within the maternal circulation, there are still several challenges that need to be overcome before application in prenatal diagnosis. However, flow cytometry is a powerful tool that can be used to enhance molecular testing and other diagnostic testing modalities in prenatal and neonatal diagnosis. It remains the gold standard to identify cellular immunodeficiencies and, for some immunological disorders with established biomarkers, flow cytometric assays can be used to make a definitive diagnosis. In this review, the advantages and disadvantages of using MACS and FACS analysis for fetal cell sorting are discussed. This review also includes an overview of the current flow cytometric assays and biomarkers that may be used for prenatal and neonatal diagnosis of common immunological and hematological abnormalities and the role of flow cytometry in treatment monitoring after bone marrow and stem cell transplantation.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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