Noninvasive Prenatal Diagnostics: Recent Developments Using Circulating Fetal Nucleated Cells
Purpose of Review
The purpose of this review is to highlight recent research advances in noninvasive prenatal diagnostic methods.
Recent studies developing noninvasive prenatal diagnostic (NIPD) methods have been focused on either fetal nucleated red blood cells (fNRBCs) or circulating trophoblasts (cTBs). Enriched cTBs were successfully utilized for whole genome profiling and short tandem repeat (STR) identification to confirm feto-maternal relationship. However, further analysis of isolated fNRBCs remains confined to examining fetal cytogenetics.
Invasive prenatal diagnostic procedures, amniocentesis, and chorionic villus sampling, are the gold standard for the diagnosis of fetal chromosomal abnormalities and genetic disorders. Meanwhile, noninvasive techniques of analyzing circulating cell-free fetal DNA (cffDNA) have been limited to screening tools and are highly fragmented and confounded by maternal DNA. By detecting circulating fetal nucleated cells (CFNCs) we are able to noninvasively confirm fetal chromosomal abnormalities, truly realizing the concept of “noninvasive prenatal diagnostics”. The primary technical challenge is the enrichment of the low abundance of CFNCs in maternal peripheral blood. For any cell-based NIPD method, both fetal whole genome profiling and confirmation of the feto-parental relationship are essential. This has been successfully performed using enriched and isolated cTBs, making cTB a better candidate for NIPD. cTB enumeration also correlates with abnormal fetal or placental development. On the other hand, downstream analysis of fNRBCs remains limited to examining fetal sex and aneuploidies. Furthermore, trophoblast-based NIPD via an endocervical sample is also promising because of reduced dilution from hematologic cells.
KeywordsNoninvasive prenatal diagnostic Circulating fetal nucleated red blood cell Circulating trophoblast Whole genome amplification Array comparative genomic hybridization Short tandem repeat
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Pin-Jung Chen, Pai-Chi Teng, Yazhen Zhu, Yu Jen Jan, Yalda Afshar, Li-Ching Chen, Margareta D. Pisarska, and Hsian-Rong Tseng declare no conflict of interest. Dr. Smalley reports personal fees from CytoLumina.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
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