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Expert Rev Proteomics. 2009 Feb;6(1):87-101. doi: 10.1586/14789450.6.1.87.

Proteomic technologies for prenatal diagnostics: advances and challenges ahead.

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Diagnostic Biomarker Discovery Laboratory, Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department, National University Hospital, Singapore.


Proteomics-based identification of biomarkers for fetal abnormalities in maternal plasma, amniotic fluid and reproductive fluids has made significant progress in the past 5 years. This is attributed mainly to advances in various technology platforms associated with mass spectrometry-based techniques. As these techniques are highly sensitive and require only small quantities of body fluids, it is hoped that they will pave the way for the development of effective noninvasive approaches, without subjecting the developing fetus to the same degree of harm as current invasive procedures (e.g., amniocentesis). It is possible that these developments will include same-day analyses, thereby permitting rapid intervention when necessary. To date, a host of body fluids, such as maternal serum and plasma, amniotic fluid, cervical fluid, vaginal fluid, urine, saliva or fetal material, such as placental trophoblast, fetal membranes or cord blood, have been used successfully in the quest to develop markers for a number of pregnancy-related pathologies. In the current review update we focus on the emergence of proteomics as a major platform technology in studying various types of fetal conditions and developing markers for pregnancy-related disorders, such fetal aneuploidy, preterm birth, preeclampsia, intra-amniotic infection and fetal stress. Should the development of these markers be successful, then it is to be envisaged that proteomic approaches will become standard of care for a number of disease conditions associated with feto-maternal health.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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