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Methods Mol Biol. 2013;999:151-67. doi: 10.1007/978-1-62703-357-2_10.

Detection of clonal immunoglobulin heavy chain gene rearrangements by the polymerase chain reaction and capillary gel electrophoresis.

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Department of Pathology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA.


Although well-established diagnostic criteria exist for mature B-cell neoplasms, a definitive diagnosis of a B-cell lymphoproliferative disorder cannot always be obtained using more conventional techniques such as flow cytometric immunophenotyping, conventional cytogenetics, fluorescence in situ hybridization, or immunohistochemistry. However, because B-cell malignancies contain identically rearranged immunoglobulin heavy chain genes, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) can be a fast, convenient, and dependable option to identify clonal B-cell processes. This chapter describes the use of PCR and capillary electrophoresis to identify clonal immunoglobulin heavy chain (IGH) variable and joining region (VH-JH) gene rearrangements (IGH VH-JH PCR) using a commercially available method employing multiple multiplex PCR tubes that was originally developed as the result of a large European BIOMED-2 collaborative study (Invivoscribe Technologies). The core protocol involves the use of three separate master mix tubes that target the conserved framework (FR1, FR2, and FR3) and joining (J) regions of the IGH gene. Analysis of these three framework regions can detect approximately 88% of clonal IGH gene rearrangements.

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