Send to

Choose Destination
Clin Chem. 1999 Nov;45(11):1906-17.

Molecular diagnostics on microfabricated electrophoretic devices: from slab gel- to capillary- to microchip-based assays for T- and B-cell lymphoproliferative disorders.

Author information

Department of Chemistry, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA.



Current methods for molecular-based diagnosis of disease rely heavily on modern molecular biology techniques for interrogating the genome for aberrant DNA sequences. These techniques typically include amplification of the target DNA sequences followed by separation of the amplified fragments by slab gel electrophoresis. As a result of the labor-intensive, time-consuming nature of slab gel electrophoresis, alternative electrophoretic formats have been developed in the form of capillary electrophoresis and, more recently, multichannel microchip electrophoresis.


Capillary electrophoresis was explored as an alternative to slab gel electrophoresis for the analysis of PCR-amplified products indicative of T- and B-cell malignancies as a means of defining the elements for silica microchip-based diagnosis. Capillary-based separations were replicated on electrophoretic microchips.


The microchip-based electrophoretic separation effectively resolved PCR-amplified fragments from the variable region of the T-cell receptor-gamma gene (150-250 bp range) and the immunoglobulin heavy chain gene (80-140 bp range), yielding diagnostically relevant information regarding the presence of clonal DNA populations. Although hydroxyethylcellulose provided adequate separation power, the need for a coated microchannel for effective resolution necessitated additional preparative steps. In addition, preliminary data are shown indicating that polyvinylpyrrolidone may provide an adequate matrix without the need for microchannel coating.


Separation of B- and T-cell gene rearrangement PCR products on microchips provides diagnostic information in dramatically reduced time (160 s vs 2.5 h) with no loss of diagnostic capacity when compared with current methodologies. As illustrated, this technology and methodology holds great potential for extrapolation to the abundance of similar molecular biology-based techniques.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center