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1.  Mutation Screening and Array Comparative Genomic Hybridization Using a 180K Oligonucleotide Array in VACTERL Association 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85313.
In order to identify genetic causes of VACTERL association (V vertebral defects, A anorectal malformations, C cardiac defects, T tracheoesofageal fistula, E esophageal atresia, R renal anomalies, L limb deformities), we have collected DNA samples from 20 patients diagnosed with VACTERL or with a VACTERL-like phenotype as well as samples from 19 aborted fetal cases with VACTERL. To investigate the importance of gene dose alterations in the genetic etiology of VACTERL association we have performed a systematic analysis of this cohort using a 180K array comparative genomic hybridization (array-CGH) platform. In addition, to further clarify the significance of PCSK5, HOXD13 and CHD7 genes in the VACTERL phenotype, mutation screening has been performed. We identified pathogenic gene dose imbalances in two fetal cases; a hemizygous deletion of the FANCB gene and a (9;18)(p24;q12) unbalanced translocation. In addition, one pathogenic mutation in CHD7 was detected, while no apparent disease-causing mutations were found in HOXD13 or PCSK5. Our study shows that although large gene dose alterations do not seem to be a common cause in VACTERL association, array-CGH is still important in clinical diagnostics to identify disease cause in individual cases.
PMCID: PMC3887047  PMID: 24416387
2.  A Research Study of the Association between Maternal Microchimerism and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in Adults: A Comparison between Patients and Healthy Controls Based on Single-Nucleotide Polymorphism Using Quantitative Real-Time PCR 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74534.
Naturally acquired microchimerism may arise in the mother and her child during pregnancy when bidirectional trafficking of cells occurs through the placental barrier. The occurrence of maternal microchimerism (maternal cells in the offspring) has been associated with several autoimmune diseases, especially in children. Systemic Lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disorder with a resemblance to graft-versus-host disease. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between maternal microchimerism in the blood and SLE.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Thirty-two patients with SLE, 17 healthy brothers of the patients, and an additional 12 unrelated healthy men were the subjects in this study. A single-nucleotide polymorphism unique to each mother was identified, and maternal microchimerism in the study group and in the control group was detected using a quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction technique. No differences in the frequency or the concentration of maternal cells were apparent in the blood of patients with SLE or in that of the controls. Two patients and one control tested positive for maternal microchimerism, but the positive subjects were all negative at a follow-up 16 years later. The sensitivity of the method was estimated to 1/10.000.
These results show no association between SLE and maternal microchimerism. The frequency of maternal microchimerism in the blood of adults overall may be lower than earlier reported.
PMCID: PMC3770650  PMID: 24040274
3.  Fetal intracranial haemorrhages caused by fetal and neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia: an observational cohort study of 43 cases from an international multicentre registry 
BMJ Open  2013;3(3):e002490.
To characterise pregnancies where the fetus or neonate was diagnosed with fetal and neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (FNAIT) and suffered from intracranial haemorrhage (ICH), with special focus on time of bleeding onset.
Observational cohort study of all recorded cases of ICH caused by FNAIT from the international No IntraCranial Haemorrhage (NOICH) registry during the period 2001–2010.
13 tertiary referral centres from nine countries across the world.
37 mothers and 43 children of FNAIT pregnancies complicated by fetal or neonatal ICH identified from the NOICH registry was included if FNAIT diagnosis and ICH was confirmed.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
Gestational age at onset of ICH, type of ICH and clinical outcome of ICH were the primary outcome measures. General maternal and neonatal characteristics of pregnancies complicated by fetal/neonatal ICH were secondary outcome measures.
From a total of 592 FNAIT cases in the registry, 43 confirmed cases of ICH due to FNAIT were included in the study. The majority of bleedings (23/43, 54%) occurred before 28 gestational weeks and often affected the first born child (27/43, 63%). One-third (35%) of the children died within 4 days after delivery. 23 (53%) children survived with severe neurological disabilities and only 5 (12%) were alive and well at time of discharge. Antenatal treatment was not given in most (91%) cases of fetal/neonatal ICH.
ICH caused by FNAIT often occurs during second trimester and the clinical outcome is poor. In order to prevent ICH caused by FNAIT, at-risk pregnancies must be identified and prevention and/or interventions should start early in the second trimester.
PMCID: PMC3612794  PMID: 23524102
4.  Both Acute and Chronic Placental Inflammation Are Overrepresented in Term Stillbirths: A Case-Control Study 
Objective. To elucidate differences in the frequency and severity of acute chorioamnionitis (CAM) and chronic villitis in placentas from stillborns compared with liveborns at term and to evaluate other risk factors and placental findings. Design. Case-control study. Setting. All delivery wards in major Stockholm area. Population or Sample. Placentas from stillborn/case (n = 126) and liveborn/control (n = 273) neonates were prospectively collected between 2002 and 2005. Methods. CAM was assessed on a three-grade scale based on the presence and distribution of polymorphonuclear leucocytes in the chorion/amnion. The presence of vasculitis and funisitis was recorded separately. Chronic villitis was diagnosed by the presence of mononuclear cells in the villous stroma. Relevant clinical data were collected from a specially constructed, web-based database. The statistic analyses were performed using multivariable logistic regression. Results. CAM (especially severe, AOR: 7.39 CI: 3.05–17.95), villous immaturity (AOR: 7.17 CI: 2.66–19.33), villitis (<1 % AOR: 4.31 CI: 1.16–15.98; ≥1 %, AOR: 3.87 CI: 1.38–10.83), SGA (AOR: 7.52 CI: 3.06–18.48), and BMI >24.9 (AOR: 2.06 CI: 1.21–3.51) were all connected to an elevated risk of term stillbirth. Conclusions. We found that CAM, chronic villitis, villous immaturity, SGA, and maternal overweight, but not vasculitis or funisitis are independently associated with risk for stillbirth at term.
PMCID: PMC3433132  PMID: 22966214
5.  On the paternal origin of trisomy 21 Down syndrome 
Down syndrome (DS), characterized by an extra free chromosome 21 is the most common genetic cause for congenital malformations and learning disability. It is well known that the extra chromosome 21 originates from the mother in more than 90% of cases, the incidence increases with maternal age and there is a high recurrence in young women. In a previous report we have presented data to indicate that maternal trisomy 21 (T21) ovarian mosaicism might provide the major causative factor underlying these patterns of DS inheritance. One important outstanding question concerns the reason why the extra chromosome 21 in DS rarely originates from the father, i.e. in less than 10% of T21 DS cases. We here report data indicating that one reason for this parental sex difference is a very much lower degree of fetal testicular in comparison to ovarian T21 mosaicism.
We used fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) with two chromosome 21-specific probes to determine the copy number of chromosome 21 in fetal testicular cell nuclei from four male fetuses, following termination of pregnancy for a non-medical/social reason at gestational age 14-19 weeks. The cells studied were selected on the basis of their morphology alone, pending immunological specification of the relevant cell types. We could not detect any indication of testicular T21 mosaicism in any of these four male fetuses, when analysing at least 2000 cells per case (range 2038-3971, total 11.842). This result is highly statistically significant (p < 0.001) in comparison to the average of 0.54% ovarian T21 mosaicism (range 0.20-0.88%) that we identified in eight female fetuses analysing a total of 12.634 cells, as documented in a previous report in this journal.
Based on these observations we suggest that there is a significant sex difference in degrees of fetal germ line T21 mosaicism. Thus, it would appear that most female fetuses are T21 ovarian mosaics, while in sharp contrast most male fetuses may be either very low grade T21 testicular mosaics or they may be non-mosaics. We further propose that this sex difference in germ line T21 mosaicism may explain the much less frequent paternal origin of T21 DS than maternal. The mechanisms underlying the DS cases, where the extra chromosome 21 does originate from the father, remains unknown and further studies in this respect are required.
PMCID: PMC2848052  PMID: 20178584
6.  On the origin of trisomy 21 Down syndrome 
Down syndrome, characterized by an extra chromosome 21 is the most common genetic cause for congenital malformations and learning disability. It is well known that the extra chromosome 21 most often originates from the mother, the incidence increases with maternal age, there may be aberrant maternal chromosome 21 recombination and there is a higher recurrence in young women. In spite of intensive efforts to understand the underlying reason(s) for these characteristics, the origin still remains unknown. We hypothesize that maternal trisomy 21 ovarian mosaicism might provide the major causative factor.
We used fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with two chromosome 21-specific probes to determine the copy number of chromosome 21 in ovarian cells from eight female foetuses at gestational age 14–22 weeks. All eight phenotypically normal female foetuses were found to be mosaics, containing ovarian cells with an extra chromosome 21. Trisomy 21 occurred with about the same frequency in cells that had entered meiosis as in pre-meiotic and ovarian mesenchymal stroma cells.
We suggest that most normal female foetuses are trisomy 21 ovarian mosaics and the maternal age effect is caused by differential selection of these cells during foetal and postnatal development until ovulation. The exceptional occurrence of high-grade ovarian mosaicism may explain why some women have a child with Down syndrome already at young age as well as the associated increased incidence at subsequent conceptions. We also propose that our findings may explain the aberrant maternal recombination patterns previously found by family linkage analysis.
PMCID: PMC2564957  PMID: 18801168
7.  The Trophoblastic Epithelial Barrier Is Not Infected in Full-Term Placentae of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Seropositive Mothers Undergoing Antiretroviral Therapy 
Journal of Virology  1999;73(11):9673-9678.
To study the mechanism of the placental barrier function, we examined 10 matched samples of term placentae, cord blood, and maternal blood obtained at delivery from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected mothers with children diagnosed as HIV negative in Sweden. All placentae were histologically normal, and immunochemistry for HIV type 1 p24 and gp120 antigens was negative. Highly purified trophoblasts (93 to 99% purity) were negative for HIV DNA and RNA, indicating that the trophoblasts were uninfected. Although HIV DNA was detected in placenta-derived T lymphocytes and monocytes, microsatellite analysis showed that these cells were a mixture of maternal and fetal cells. Our study indicates that the placental barrier, i.e., the trophoblastic layer, is not HIV infected and, consequently, HIV infection of the fetus is likely to occur through other routes, such as breaks in the placental barrier.
PMCID: PMC113009  PMID: 10516083

Results 1-7 (7)