Send to

Choose Destination
Blood. 2001 Aug 1;98(3):554-7.

Simultaneous fetal cell identification and diagnosis by epsilon-globin chain immunophenotyping and chromosomal fluorescence in situ hybridization.

Author information

Department of Maternal and Fetal Medicine, Division of Paediatrics, Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology, Imperial College School of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital Campus, Du Cane Rd., London W12 0NN, United Kingdom.


Isolating fetal erythroblasts from maternal blood offers a promising noninvasive alternative for prenatal diagnosis. The current immunoenzymatic methods of identifying fetal cells from background maternal cells postenrichment by labeling gamma-globin are problematic. They are nonspecific because maternal cells may produce gamma-globin, give poor hybridization efficiencies with chromosomal fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and do not permit simultaneous visualization of the fetal cell identifier and the FISH signal. We describe a novel technique that allows simultaneous visualization of fetal erythroblast morphology, chromosomal FISH, and epsilon-globin labeled with AMCA (7-amino-4-methylcoumarin-3-acetic acid). AMCA was chosen as the fluorescent label to circumvent the problem of heme autofluorescence because the mean difference in relative fluorescence intensity between fetal erythroblasts stained positive for antiglobin antibody and autofluorescence of unstained cells was greater with AMCA (mean 43.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 34.6-51.9; SD = 14.0) as the reporting label compared with fluorescein isothiocyanate (mean 24.2; 95% CI, 16.4-31.9; SD = 12.4) or phycoerythrin (mean 9.8; 95% CI, 4.8-14.8; SD = 8.0). Median FISH hybridization efficiency was 97%, comparable to the 98% (n = 5 paired samples) using Carnoy fixative. One epsilon-positive fetal erythroblast was identified among 10(5) maternal nucleated cells in 6 paired mixture experiments of fetal erythroblasts in maternal blood (P <.001). Male epsilon-positive fetal erythroblasts were clearly distinguishable from adult female epsilon-negative erythroblasts, with no false positives (n = 1000). The frequency of fetal erythroblasts expressing epsilon-globin declines linearly from 7 to 14 weeks' gestation (y = -15.8 x + 230.8; R(2) = 0.8; P <.001). We describe a rapid and accurate method to detect simultaneously fetal erythroblast morphology, intracytoplasmic epsilon-globin, and nuclear FISH. (Blood. 2001;98:554-557).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center