Detection of 'rare event' fetal erythroblasts in maternal blood using automated microscopy

HJ Tanke*, JC Oosterwijk, WE Mesker, MCMO vonVelzen, CM Knepfle, CC Wiesmeyer, GJB vonOmmen, HHH Kanhai, J Vrolijk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes the use of automated microscopy to detect fetal erythroblasts in maternal blood. The technology is based on the following approach: (1) the use of centrifugal cytology for the preparation of monolayers; (2) simultaneous staining of fetal hemoglobin (immunoalkaline phosphatase) and chromosome sequences (FISH); (3) multi-mode microscopy to detect rare events; (4) visual evaluation of image memories containing detected objects. Model systems show that fetal cells in frequencies as low as 1 in a million cells can be detected easily (manually or by automated microscopy). Algorithms for automated cell selection were developed for a test set of 6 patients. Optimization of hardware and software routines will make analysis of several million cells in approximately 1 h feasible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S89-S93
Number of pages5
JournalEarly Human Development
Publication statusPublished - 30-Dec-1996
EventCongress on Recent Advances in Prenatal Diagnosis for Aneuploidy - , Netherlands
Duration: 1-May-19963-May-1996


  • fetal erythroblasts
  • rare event detection
  • automated microscopy
  • immunocytochemistry
  • image processing

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