Publications by authors named "Erik S LeShane"

17 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Interactions between copper-binding sites determine the redox status and conformation of the regulatory N-terminal domain of ATP7B.

J Biol Chem 2010 Feb 23;285(9):6327-36. Epub 2009 Dec 23.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon 97239, USA.

Copper-transporting ATPase ATP7B is essential for human copper homeostasis and normal liver function. ATP7B has six N-terminal metal-binding domains (MBDs) that sense cytosolic copper levels and regulate ATP7B. The mechanism of copper sensing and signal integration from multiple MBDs is poorly understood. We show that MBDs communicate and that this communication determines the oxidation state and conformation of the entire N-terminal domain of ATP7B (N-ATP7B). Mutations of copper-coordinating Cys to Ala in any MBD (2, 3, 4, or 6) change the N-ATP7B conformation and have distinct functional consequences. Mutating MBD2 or MBD3 causes Cys oxidation in other MBDs and loss of copper binding. In contrast, mutation of MBD4 and MBD6 does not alter the redox status and function of other sites. Our results suggest that MBD2 and MBD3 work together to regulate access to other metal-binding sites, whereas MBD4 and MBD6 receive copper independently, downstream of MBD2 and MBD3. Unlike Ala substitutions, the Cys-to-Ser mutation in MBD2 preserves the conformation and reduced state of N-ATP7B, suggesting that hydrogen bonds contribute to interdomain communications. Tight coupling between MBDs suggests a mechanism by which small changes in individual sites (induced by copper binding or mutation) result in stabilization of distinct conformations of the entire N-ATP7B and altered exposure of sites for interactions with regulatory proteins.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M109.074633DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2825428PMC
February 2010

Therapeutic Targeting of ATP7B in Ovarian Carcinoma.

Clin Cancer Res 2009 Jun 26;15(11):3770-80. Epub 2009 May 26.

Departments of Gynecologic Oncology, Experimental Therapeutics, and Cancer Biology, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, USA.

Purpose: Resistance to platinum chemotherapy remains a significant problem in ovarian carcinoma. Here, we examined the biological mechanisms and therapeutic potential of targeting a critical platinum resistance gene, ATP7B, using both in vitro and in vivo models.

Experimental Design: Expression of ATP7A and ATP7B was examined in ovarian cancer cell lines by real-time reverse transcription-PCR and Western blot analysis. ATP7A and ATP7B gene silencing was achieved with targeted small interfering RNA (siRNA) and its effects on cell viability and DNA adduct formation were examined. For in vivo therapy experiments, siRNA was incorporated into the neutral nanoliposome 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidylcholine (DOPC).

Results: ATP7A and ATP7B genes were expressed at higher levels in platinum-resistant cells compared with sensitive cells; however, only differences in ATP7B reached statistical significance. ATP7A gene silencing had no significant effect on the sensitivity of resistant cells to cisplatin, but ATP7B silencing resulted in 2.5-fold reduction of cisplatin IC(50) levels and increased DNA adduct formation in cisplatin-resistant cells (A2780-CP20 and RMG2). Cisplatin was found to bind to the NH(2)-terminal copper-binding domain of ATP7B, which might be a contributing factor to cisplatin resistance. For in vivo therapy experiments, ATP7B siRNA was incorporated into DOPC and was highly effective in reducing tumor growth in combination with cisplatin (70-88% reduction in both models compared with controls). This reduction in tumor growth was accompanied by reduced proliferation, increased tumor cell apoptosis, and reduced angiogenesis.

Conclusion: These data provide a new understanding of cisplatin resistance in cancer cells and may have implications for therapeutic reversal of drug resistance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-08-2306DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2752981PMC
June 2009

Biochemical basis of regulation of human copper-transporting ATPases.

Arch Biochem Biophys 2007 Jul 2;463(2):134-48. Epub 2007 May 2.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA.

Copper is essential for cell metabolism as a cofactor of key metabolic enzymes. The biosynthetic incorporation of copper into secreted and plasma membrane-bound proteins requires activity of the copper-transporting ATPases (Cu-ATPases) ATP7A and ATP7B. The Cu-ATPases also export excess copper from the cell and thus critically contribute to the homeostatic control of copper. The trafficking of Cu-ATPases from the trans-Golgi network to endocytic vesicles in response to various signals allows for the balance between the biosynthetic and copper exporting functions of these transporters. Although significant progress has been made towards understanding the biochemical characteristics of human Cu-ATPase, the mechanisms that control their function and intracellular localization remain poorly understood. In this review, we summarize current information on structural features and functional properties of ATP7A and ATP7B. We also describe sequence motifs unique for each Cu-ATPase and speculate about their role in regulating ATP7A and ATP7B activity and trafficking.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.abb.2007.04.013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2025638PMC
July 2007

High levels of fetal cell-free DNA in maternal serum: a risk factor for spontaneous preterm delivery.

Am J Obstet Gynecol 2005 Aug;193(2):421-5

Department of Embryology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Prenatal Medicine Unit, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

Objective: This study was conducted to determine whether there is a relationship between the concentration of fetal cell-free DNA in maternal serum and the duration of pregnancy in women who are at high risk for preterm delivery because of either preterm labor or preterm premature rupture of the membranes.

Study Design: Sera were collected and frozen from 71 women with a male fetus. Maternal serum fetal cell-free DNA concentration was measured with the use of real-time polymerase chain reaction amplification of DYS1. Fetal cell-free DNA concentrations were converted to multiples of the median. The following groups were studied: group 1: women with preterm labor and intact membranes who were delivered at > or = 36 weeks of gestation (n = 21); group 2: women with preterm labor who were delivered at <36 weeks of gestation (n = 29); and group 3: women with preterm premature rupture of the membranes in labor (n = 20) or not in labor (n = 1) who were delivered prematurely (<36 weeks of gestation). Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression analyses were used to analyze the relationship between fetal cell-free DNA concentrations and the likelihood of preterm delivery.

Results: A cut-off value for fetal cell-free DNA of 1.82 multiples of the median was chosen for analysis. The cumulative rate of early preterm delivery (<30 weeks of gestation) was significantly higher for women with fetal cell-free DNA concentrations of > or = 1.82 multiples of the median than those with fetal cell-free DNA concentrations below this cut-off (45% [95% CI, 36%-74%] vs 18% [95% CI, 11%-25%]; P = .008]. The cumulative rate of preterm delivery (<36 weeks of gestation) was also significantly higher at > or = 1.82 multiples of the median (73% [95% CI, 52%-93%] vs 66% [95% CI, 54%-79%]; P = .02). After adjustment for covariates, Cox analysis showed that fetal cell-free DNA at > or = 1.82 multiples of the mechanisms of disease that are associated with a mean hazard rate of delivery of 1.57 (P = .005).

Conclusion: High concentrations of fetal cell-free DNA in maternal serum are associated with an increased risk of spontaneous preterm delivery. This observation may have implications for the understanding of the mechanisms of disease that is associated with preterm labor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2004.12.023DOI Listing
August 2005

Changes of cell-free fetal DNA in maternal plasma after elective termination of pregnancy.

Clin Chem 2005 Jan 4;51(1):217-9. Epub 2004 Nov 4.

Division of Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, Tufts-New England Medical Center, Boston, MA 02111, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1373/clinchem.2004.042135DOI Listing
January 2005

Microarray analysis of cell-free fetal DNA in amniotic fluid: a prenatal molecular karyotype.

Am J Hum Genet 2004 Sep 13;75(3):485-91. Epub 2004 Jul 13.

Division of Newborn Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Tufts-New England Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02111, USA.

Metaphase karyotype analysis of fetal cells obtained by amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling is the current standard for prenatal cytogenetic diagnosis, particularly for the detection of trisomy 21. We previously demonstrated that large quantities of cell-free fetal DNA (cffDNA) are easily extracted from amniotic fluid (AF). In this study, we explored potential clinical applications of AF cffDNA by testing its ability to hybridize to DNA microarrays for comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) analysis. cffDNA isolated from 11 male fetuses showed significantly increased hybridization signals on SRY and decreased signals on X-chromosome markers, compared with female reference DNA. cffDNA isolated from six female fetuses showed the reverse when compared with male reference DNA. cffDNA from three fetuses with trisomy 21 had increased hybridization signals on the majority of the chromosome 21 markers, and cffDNA from a fetus with monosomy X (Turner syndrome) had decreased hybridization signals on most X-chromosome markers, compared with euploid female reference DNA. These results indicate that cffDNA extracted from AF can be analyzed using CGH microarrays to correctly identify fetal sex and aneuploidy. This technology facilitates rapid screening of samples for whole-chromosome changes and may augment standard karyotyping techniques by providing additional molecular information.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/423288DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1182026PMC
September 2004

Circulating cell-free fetal nucleic acid analysis may be a novel marker of fetomaternal hemorrhage after elective first-trimester termination of pregnancy.

Ann N Y Acad Sci 2004 Jun;1022:129-34

Division of Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, Tufts-New England Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, USA.

Analysis of cell-free fetal DNA (fDNA) and RNA in maternal plasma could be useful in the diagnosis and management of complications of pregnancy. In this review, we discuss our studies to investigate the potential of fetal nucleic acid measurement in maternal plasma as a marker of fetomaternal hemorrhage (FMH) after elective first-trimester termination of pregnancy (TOP). Using quantitative real-time PCR amplification of the DYS1 sequence, elevation of plasma fDNA levels after TOP was observed, especially in the late first trimester. This corresponds with the functional development of the placental vascular structure and fetal hematopoiesis. This Y sequence-based PCR amplification assay, however, limits the analysis to pregnant women carrying male fetuses. Therefore, we also developed a real-time quantitative reverse-transcriptase PCR assay of the gamma-globin transcript as a marker of fetal erythroid cells. Although plasma gamma-globin mRNA levels were decreased after TOP in many patients, an elevation was observed in some patients at greater than 9 weeks' gestation, which is consistent with the increase in plasma fDNA levels. Our data suggest that fetal hematopoietic cells contribute to the pool of fetal nucleic acids in the maternal circulation. Measurement of cell-free fetal nucleic acid levels in maternal plasma may have clinical application as a novel marker of FMH after 9 weeks of gestation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1196/annals.1318.021DOI Listing
June 2004

Cell-free fetal DNA in the cerebrospinal fluid of women during the peripartum period.

Am J Obstet Gynecol 2004 Apr;190(4):1087-90

Division of Genetics Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Tufts-New England Medical Center, Boston, MA 02111, USA.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine whether cell-free fetal DNA is detectable in the cerebrospinal fluid of women during pregnancy and after delivery.

Study Design: Cerebrospinal fluid was collected from 39 women who underwent an indicated spinal anesthesia procedure. Twenty-six samples were from women who carried at least 1 male fetus, and 13 samples were from women with only a female fetus. DNA was analyzed with the use of real-time polymerase chain reaction for DYS-1 (which represented male fetal DNA) and beta-globin (which represented maternal and fetal DNA).

Results: beta-Globin DNA was detected in all cerebrospinal samples. DYS-1 gene sequences were detected in 4 cerebrospinal fluid samples from women who had male fetuses (2 samples were from women who underwent cesarean delivery of singleton pregnancies, 1 sample was from a triplet pregnancy, and 1 sample was from a woman after delivery). No male DNA was detected in the cerebrospinal fluid of women who carried female fetuses.

Conclusion: Male fetal cells and/or cell-free fetal DNA is detectable in the cerebrospinal fluid of some pregnant women or some women after delivery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2003.10.562DOI Listing
April 2004

Plasma gamma-globin gene expression suggests that fetal hematopoietic cells contribute to the pool of circulating cell-free fetal nucleic acids during pregnancy.

Clin Chem 2004 Apr;50(4):689-93

Division of Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, Tufts-New England Medical Center, Boston, MA 02111, USA.

Background: Reports of placental mRNA sequences in the plasma of pregnant women suggest that the placenta is the predominant source of cell-free fetal nucleic acids in maternal plasma during pregnancy. We developed an assay for gamma-globin mRNA concentrations to determine whether hematopoietic cells also contribute to the pool of fetal mRNA in maternal plasma.

Methods: Frozen paired plasma samples obtained from 40 women before and within 20 min after elective first-trimester termination of pregnancy (TOP) were analyzed. Fresh plasma samples from eight nonpregnant individuals were included as controls. Plasma gamma-globin mRNA was measured by use of real-time reverse transcription-PCR and analyzed with gestational age. Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) mRNA was used to confirm the presence of cell-free RNA in each sample.

Results: gamma-Globin and GAPDH mRNA sequences were detected in every plasma sample. The concentrations of both messages were significantly increased in pregnancy (P <0.01). The concentrations of gamma-globin mRNA were decreased in most women after TOP, but gamma-globin mRNA was increased in some patients when TOP was performed later than 9 weeks of gestation.

Conclusions: gamma-Globin mRNA sequences can be detected and measured in fresh and frozen plasma samples. Plasma gamma-globin and GAPDH mRNA concentrations are affected by pregnancy. The increased posttermination gamma-globin mRNA concentrations seen in some patients suggest that the source of this message is fetal hematopoietic cells. Further study in pregnant women after 9 weeks of gestation is necessary to evaluate the potential of gamma-globin mRNA as a marker for fetomaternal hemorrhage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1373/clinchem.2003.030064DOI Listing
April 2004

Two-stage elevation of cell-free fetal DNA in maternal sera before onset of preeclampsia.

Am J Obstet Gynecol 2004 Mar;190(3):707-13

Division of Epidemiology, Statistics, and Prevention Research, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Objective: The purpose was to determine whether preeclampsia (PE) is caused by microfragments of syncytial trophoblast shed into the maternal circulation that stimulate an exaggerated inflammatory response.

Study Design: A nested case control study was performed within the Calcium for Preeclampsia Prevention trial cohort of healthy nulliparous women. Each preeclampsia case was matched to 1 normotensive control. One hundred twenty pairs were randomly chosen for analysis of serum cell-free fetal DNA (cffDNA), a marker of placental debris, and C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation, in all 658 specimens obtained before labor.

Results: At 29 to 41 weeks of gestation, cffDNA concentrations were significantly higher after preeclampsia than before (219 vs 112 genome equivalents [GE]/mL, P<.001). Before preeclampsia, cffDNA in cases exceeded controls at 17 to 28 weeks (36 vs 16 GE/mL, P<.001), but at 29 to 41 weeks, only within 3 weeks before preeclampsia (176 vs 75 GE/mL, P<.001). CRP serum concentrations were neither associated with cffDNA nor elevated before preeclampsia.

Conclusion: Preeclampsia is accompanied by a 2-stage elevation of fetal DNA, but not by elevation of CRP. Elevated cffDNA at 17 to 28 weeks may be due to placental necrosis and apoptosis. Subsequent elevations may reflect impaired DNA elimination. The 2-stage elevation suggests the possibility of measurement of fetal DNA both to screen for preeclampsia and to indicate impending clinical disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2003.12.019DOI Listing
March 2004

Cell-free fetal DNA levels in maternal plasma after elective first-trimester termination of pregnancy.

Fertil Steril 2004 Mar;81(3):638-44

Department of Pediatrics, Tufts-New England Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, USA.

Objective: To determine if first-trimester elective termination of pregnancy affects cell-free fetal DNA (fDNA) levels in maternal plasma.

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Setting: Clinical and academic research centers.

Patient(s): One hundred thirty-four women who underwent first-trimester elective termination procedures.

Intervention(s): None.

Main Outcome Measure(s): Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification and measurement of DYS1, a Y-chromosome sequence, was used as a marker of fDNA.

Result(s): We detected fDNA in pretermination samples from 27 out of 71 patients in the surgical arm, and 29 out of 63 patients in the medical arm. Based on confirmation of male gender in placental tissue, the sensitivity of fDNA detection is 92.6%. We detected fDNA as early as 32 days of gestation, which increased 4.2 genome equivalents/mL/week. In the surgical arm, the mean level of posttermination fDNA, adjusted for the clearance of fDNA in maternal blood, was higher than projected based on an expected increase with gestational age. In the medical arm, six patients had increased fDNA levels up to 11 days following termination.

Conclusion(s): We found that fDNA can be reliably quantified in the early first trimester; fDNA elevation that occurs shortly after surgical termination may reflect fetomaternal hemorrhage or destruction of trophoblastic villi. Continued elevation of fDNA for several days may occur following medical termination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2003.07.028DOI Listing
March 2004

Interlaboratory comparison of fetal male DNA detection from common maternal plasma samples by real-time PCR.

Clin Chem 2004 Mar 12;50(3):516-21. Epub 2004 Jan 12.

Division of Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, Tufts-New England Medical Center, Boston, MA 02111, USA.

Background: Analysis of fetal DNA from maternal plasma by PCR offers great potential for noninvasive prenatal genetic diagnosis. To further evaluate this potential, we developed and validated a standard protocol to determine whether fetal DNA sequences could be reproducibly amplified and measured across multiple laboratories in a common set of specimens.

Methods: Each of five participating centers in a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development consortium collected 20 mL of peripheral blood from 20 pregnant women between 10 and 20 weeks of gestation. The plasma fraction was separated according to a common protocol, divided, and frozen in five aliquots. One aliquot was shipped to each participating laboratory, where DNA was extracted according to a standard protocol. All plasma samples (n = 100) were then analyzed blindly for the presence and quantity of total DNA (GAPDH) and male fetal DNA (SRY) by real-time PCR. Genomic DNA was isolated from female and male cells at one center, quantified, and shipped to the others to serve as calibrators for GAPDH and SRY, respectively.

Results: The amplification of known quantities of DNA was consistent among all centers. The mean quantity of male DNA amplified from maternal plasma when the fetus was male ranged from 51 to 228 genome equivalents (GE)/mL. Qualitative concordance was found overall among centers. The sensitivity of the assay for detection of male DNA when the fetus was male varied from 31% to 97% among centers. Specificity was more consistent (93-100%) with only four false-positive results obtained across the entire study.

Conclusions: All centers were able to consistently amplify frozen and shipped DNA. The PCR procedure used here is reliable and reproducible. Centers that extracted and amplified more DNA per milliliter of maternal plasma had superior sensitivities of Y chromosome sequence detection. The specificity of the assay was more consistent among centers. A robust and thoroughly optimized protocol for the extraction of DNA from maternal plasma is needed to make testing of fetal DNA in maternal plasma a clinically relevant analytical tool.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1373/clinchem.2003.024380DOI Listing
March 2004

Evaluation of cell-free fetal DNA as a second-trimester maternal serum marker of Down syndrome pregnancy.

Clin Chem 2003 Feb;49(2):239-42

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy 40138.

Background: Second-trimester cell-free fetal DNA (studied only in pregnancies with male fetuses) is higher in maternal serum samples from women carrying Down syndrome fetuses than in unaffected pregnancies. In this study we evaluated the potential performance of fetal DNA as a screening marker for Down syndrome.

Methods: Data on maternal serum fetal DNA concentrations and the corresponding concentrations of the quadruple serum markers were available from 15 Down syndrome cases, each matched for gestational age and length of freezer storage, with 5 control samples. Analyte values were expressed as multiple(s) of the control or population median. Screening performance of fetal DNA, both alone and when added to estimates of quadruple marker performance, was determined after modeling using univariate and multivariate gaussian distribution analysis.

Results: The median fetal DNA concentration in Down syndrome cases was 1.7 times higher than in controls. In univariate analysis, fetal DNA gave a 21% detection rate at a 5% false-positive rate. When added to quadruple marker screening, fetal DNA increased the estimated detection rate from 81% to 86% at a 5% false-positive rate.

Conclusions: Cell-free fetal DNA, measured in maternal serum, can modestly increase screening performance above what is currently available in the second trimester. If and when maternal serum fetal DNA can be measured in pregnancies with both male and female fetuses, the utility and cost-effectiveness of adding it as a Down syndrome screening marker should be assessed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1373/49.2.239DOI Listing
February 2003

Maternal serum cell-free fetal DNA levels are increased in cases of trisomy 13 but not trisomy 18.

Hum Genet 2003 Feb 12;112(2):204-8. Epub 2002 Nov 12.

Department of Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Genetics, Tufts-New England Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, 750 Washington Street, Box 394, Boston, MA 02111, USA.

Cell-free fetal DNA in the maternal circulation is a potential noninvasive marker for fetal aneuploidies. In previous studies with Y DNA as a fetal-specific marker, levels of circulating fetal DNA were shown to be elevated in women carrying trisomy 21 fetuses. The goal of this study was to determine whether cell-free fetal DNA levels in the serum of pregnant women carrying fetuses with trisomies 13 or 18 are also elevated. Archived maternal serum samples from five cases of male trisomy 13 and five cases of male trisomy 18 were studied. Each case was matched for fetal gender, gestational age, and duration of freezer storage to four or five control serum samples presumed to be euploid after newborn medical record review. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction amplification of DYS1 was performed to measure the amount of male fetal DNA present. Unadjusted median serum fetal DNA concentrations were 97.5 GE/ml (genomic equivalents per milliliter; 29.2-187.0) for the trisomy 13 cases, 31.5 GE/ml (18.6-77.6) for the trisomy 18 cases, and 40.3 GE/ml (3.7-127.4) for the controls. Fetal DNA levels in trisomy 13 cases were significantly elevated ( P=0.016) by analysis of variance of the ranks of values within each matched set. In contrast, fetal DNA levels in trisomy 18 cases were no different from the controls ( P=0.244). Second trimester maternal serum analytes currently used in screening do not identify fetuses at high risk for trisomy 13. Fetal DNA may facilitate noninvasive screening for trisomy 13 provided that a gender-independent fetal DNA marker can be developed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00439-002-0853-9DOI Listing
February 2003

Fetal cell-free plasma DNA concentrations in maternal blood are stable 24 hours after collection: analysis of first- and third-trimester samples.

Clin Chem 2003 Jan;49(1):195-8

Division of Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, Tufts-New England Medical Center and Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02111, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1373/49.1.195DOI Listing
January 2003

Down syndrome and cell-free fetal DNA in archived maternal serum.

Am J Obstet Gynecol 2002 Nov;187(5):1217-21

Divison of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Women and Infants' Hospital, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.

Objective: Increased levels of cell-free fetal DNA (f-DNA) in the maternal circulation are a potential noninvasive marker for fetal Down syndrome. Our objectives were to (1) determine whether f-DNA could be quantified by using archived serum and amniotic fluid, (2) examine whether serum f-DNA levels are elevated in Down syndrome pregnancies in a case-control series matched for gestational age and duration of sample storage, and (3) determine whether f-DNA levels are elevated in the amniotic fluid of Down syndrome fetuses.

Study Design: Eleven serum and six amniotic fluid samples previously collected and stored at -20 degrees C from gravid women carrying a 47,XY,+21 fetus were each paired with five matched control samples of identical specimen type from gravid women carrying a presumed euploid male fetus. f-DNA concentration was quantified blindly by real-time polymerase chain reaction amplification for a Y-chromosome sequence. Matched rank-sum analysis and analysis of variance were used for analysis.

Results: The mean observed rank of 5.0 in the Down syndrome group was significantly higher than expected (P
Conclusion: Down syndrome pregnancies exhibit 1.7-fold higher levels of maternal serum cell-free f-DNA compared with matched controls. No such association is observed in amniotic fluid. Archived serum appears to be a useful source of clinical material for retrospective analyses but may require controlling for the duration of sample storage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1067/mob.2002.127462DOI Listing
November 2002

Fetal cell isolation from maternal blood cultures by flow cytometric hemoglobin profiles. Results of a preliminary clinical trial.

Fetal Diagn Ther 2002 Mar-Apr;17(2):83-9

Division of Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, New England Medical Center and Tufts University Medical School, Boston, MA 02111, USA.

Objective: We conducted a trial to test if the blood of pregnant women contains fetal clonogenic erythroid cells the progeny of which can be identified and isolated by a newly developed flow-sorting procedure.

Methods: We have previously demonstrated the identification of fetal nucleated red cells in cocultures of fetal and adult blood. The procedure is based on profiles of the correlated contents of fetal and adult hemoglobin (HbF and HbA, respectively), using antibodies specific for the different hemoglobin chains. In such profiles, fetal cells contain only HbF, while the vast majority of adult cells contain either only HbA or a combination of HbA and HbF. HbF+ HbA- cells are flow sorted and fetal cells identified by fluorescence in situ hybridization, using chromosome-specific probes. This technique provides a yield that approaches 100%, meaning that fetal cells will be found even if the culture contains only a single fetal erythroid colony among thousands of maternal colonies. Peripheral blood samples were obtained from 11 women carrying chromosomally normal male fetuses, from 5 women carrying trisomy 21 fetuses, and from 2 women carrying trisomy 18 fetuses. A further six samples came from women with an unknown fetal karyotype. As positive controls, we used blood samples drawn after termination procedures that tended to induce some fetomaternal hemorrhage. In parallel to the method being tested, we employed alternative techniques of fetal cell detection: one third of the mononuclear cell preparations from each maternal blood sample was not cultured but labeled with anti-HbF antibodies for flow sorting of F+ cells. Ten percent of the total harvested cell population of each culture was subjected to quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis targeting a Y-chromosome-specific sequence.

Results: Most post-termination blood samples yielded fetal cells with high purity which demonstrates the validity of the method. However, no fetal cells were found in any of the maternal blood samples with normal or abnormal pregnancies, neither before nor after culture.

Conclusion: We conclude that a cell culture approach targeting clonogenic erythroid cells offers no advantage over established methods of direct isolation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000048014DOI Listing
April 2002