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Transl Res. 2007 Nov;150(5):319-25. Epub 2007 Jul 18.

Application of maternal plasma DNA analysis for noninvasive prenatal diagnosis of Hb E-beta-thalassemia.

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Centre for Research and Development of Medical Diagnostic Laboratories, Faculty of Associated Medical Sciences, Khon Kaen University, Kohn Kaen, Thailand.


To establish simple noninvasive prenatal diagnosis of common beta-thalassemia in Southeast Asia, we have evaluated the possibility of identifying the 3 most common beta-thalassemia genes [beta(E), beta(17A-T), and beta(41/42(-CTCC))] by analysis of fetal DNA in maternal plasma using combined conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and real-time quantitative PCR. Maternal plasma was obtained from peripheral blood of Thai pregnant women collected during the first and second trimesters of gestation. DNA was prepared from 200 microL plasma using a QIAmp Blood Mini Kit. Identifications of the beta(E), beta(41/42(-CTTT)), and beta(17A-T) in plasma DNA were carried out using semi-nested (for beta(E)) and nested (for beta(41/42) and beta(17)) real-time allele-specific PCR methodologies, and the results were compared with those obtained on fetal tissue analysis with routine invasive procedure. Twenty-six fetal beta(E) genes were correctly identified by maternal plasma DNA analysis of 39 pregnant women investigated. The fetal beta(41/42) and beta(17) mutations were detectable in 6 of 12 and 4 of 9 maternal plasma specimens, respectively, which were in concordance with the results obtained by routine invasive procedure. The noninvasive prenatal diagnostic methods developed should potentially prove useful for detection of paternally inherited mutation and for providing the exclusion of pregnancies at risk for this common genetic disorder in the region.

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