Development of a preparation and staining method for fetal erythroblasts in maternal blood: Simultaneous immunocytochemical staining and FISH analysis

JC Oosterwijk*, WE Mesker, MCM Ouwerkerk-van Velzen, CFHM Knepfle, KC Wiesmeijer, MJM van den Burg, GC Beverstock, LF Bernini, Gert-Jan B van Ommen, HHH Kanhai, HJ Tanke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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In order to detect fetal nucleated red blood cells (NRBCs) in maternal blood, a protocol was developed which aimed at producing a reliable staining method for combined immunocytochemical and FISH analysis. The technique had to be suitable for eventual automated screening of slides.

Chorionic villi washings, cord blood, and maternal blood samples were used for this study. After a density gradient separation and centrifugal cytology, slides were stained either with 3,3-diaminobenzidin (DAB), a marker for heme, or with antibodies against the gamma-chain of fetal hemoglobin (HbF). FISH analysis for both X- and Y-chromosomes was performed on the same slides.

Cytocentrifugation provided a controlled cell density on the slides with good cell morphology, Both the DAB and HbF staining were suitable for manual screening of large numbers of slides. The HbF staining, although supposed to be more specific for fetal NRBCs, appeared to be more sensitive to minor changes in preparation. We were eventually able to combine HbF staining with FISH analysis, and produced a detection efficiency of > 85% for both X- and Y-chromosome signals.

This preparation protocol simplifies the detection of NRBCs in maternal blood. Immunocytochemical staining and FISH analysis can be performed on the same cell with good image contrast, thus facilitating both manual and automated image analysis. This will facilitate the use of this approach for prenatal diagnosis. (C) 1998 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-177
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1-Jul-1998
Event18th Congress of the International-Society-for-Analytical-Cytology - RIMINI, Italy
Duration: 1-Apr-1996 → …


  • prenatal diagnosis
  • erythroblast
  • fetal hemoglobin
  • diaminobenzidin
  • FISH
  • immunocytochemistry
  • fetal cells in maternal blood

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