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Kobe J Med Sci. 2017 Dec 18;63(3):E80-E83.

SMA Diagnosis: Detection of SMN1 Deletion with Real-Time mCOP-PCR System Using Fresh Blood DNA.

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Department of Community Medicine and Social Healthcare Science, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Kobe, Japan.
Department of Pediatrics, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Kobe, Japan.
Division of Child Neurology, Department of Neurology, National Hospital Organization Toneyama National Hospital, Toneyama, Japan.
Institute of Medical Genetics, Tokyo Women's Medical University, Tokyo, Japan.
Kobe Pharmaceutical University, Kobe, Japan.
Department of Pediatrics, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore.
Faculty of Nutrition, Kobe Gakuin University, Kobe, Japan.



Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is one of the most common autosomal recessive disorders. The symptoms are caused by defects of lower motor neurons in the spinal cord. More than 95% of SMA patients are homozygous for survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1) deletion. We previously developed a screening system for SMN1 deletion based on a modified competitive oligonucleotide priming-PCR (mCOP-PCR) technique using dried blood spot (DBS) on filter paper. This system is convenient for mass screening in the large population and/or first-tier diagnostic method of the patients in the remote areas. However, this system was still time-consuming and effort-taking, because it required pre-amplification procedure to avoid non-specific amplification and gel-electrophoresis to detect the presence or absence of SMN1 deletion. When the fresh blood samples are used instead of DBS, or when the gel-electrophoresis is replaced by real-time PCR, we may have a simpler and more rapid diagnostic method for SMA.


To establish a simpler and more rapid diagnostic method of SMN1 deletion using fresh blood DNA.


DNA samples extracted from fresh blood and stored at 4 ℃ for 1 month. The samples were assayed using a real-time mCOP-PCR system without pre-amplification procedures. DNA samples had already been genotyped by PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP), showing the presence or absence of SMN1 exon 7. The DNA samples were directly subjected to the mCOP-PCR step. The amplification of mCOP-PCR was monitored in a real-time PCR apparatus.


The genotyping results of the real-time mCOP-PCR system using fresh blood DNA were completely matched with those of PCR-RFLP. In this real-time mCOP-PCR system using fresh blood-DNA, it took only four hours from extraction of DNA to detection of the presence or absence of SMN1 deletion, while it took more than 12 hours in PCR-RFLP.


Our real-time mCOP-PCR system using fresh blood DNA was rapid and accurate, suggesting it may be useful for the first-tier diagnostic method of SMA.


spinal muscular atrophy; mCOP-PCR; SMN1; SMN2; real-time PCR

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