Simple non-invasive prenatal detection of Hb Bart's disease by analysis of fetal erythrocytes in maternal blood
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OBJECTIVE: To investigate a simple non-invasive technique for early detection of Hemoglobin (Hb) Bart's disease. METHOD: Maternal blood smears from 8 known Hb Bart's pregnancies and 40 at-risk pregnancies were investigated. Maternal peripheral blood smears were stained with fluorescence-labeled monoclonal antibodies against alpha- and embryonic zeta-globin chains. RESULTS: Fetal nonnucleated red blood cells, stained with anti-zeta but not with anti-alpha globin antibodies were found in 15 out of 16 affected pregnancies but were not detected in 23 out of 24 unaffected pregnancies. CONCLUSION: Results showed that non-invasive immunofluorescence staining of maternal blood is a feasible approach for screening Hb Bart's disease before ultrasound manifestation in affected pregnancies.
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