Preimplantation genetic diagnosis of spinal muscular atrophy

JCFM Dreesen*, M Bras, C de Die-Smulders, JCM Dumoulin, JM Cobben, JLH Evers, HJM Smeets, JPM Geraedts

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    50 Citations (Scopus)


    After Duchenne muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is the most common severe neuromuscular disease in childhood. Since 1995, homozygous deletions in exon 7 of the survival motor neuron (SMN) gene have been described in >90-95% of SMA patients. However, the presence of a highly homologous SMN copy gene complicates the detection of exon 7 deletions. This paper describes the adjustment and evaluation of an established SMN exon 7 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) protocol at the single cell level, and the first preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) of SMA with this PCR protocol. To determine PCR efficiency and allelic loss, 200 leukocytes of normal individuals, SMA carriers and patients, and 25 blastomeres were tested. The PCR efficiency of the SMN exon 7 and the adjacent copy gene sequence, tested in the leukocytes, were 90% and 91% respectively. No allelic loss was detected. One out of 25 blastomeres tested revealed a negative PCR signal for the SMN exon 7 sequence. All 25 showed the copy gene sequence. PGD of SMA was offered to a couple with an affected child homozygous for the SMN exon 7 deletion. After intracytoplasmic sperm injection, four and five embryos could be genotyped for the SMN exon 7 in two cycles respectively. After embryo transfer in the second PGD cycle an ongoing gemelli pregnancy was achieved. This study demonstrates that PGD for SMA is feasible when a previous child is homozygous for the SMN exon 7 deletion.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)881-885
    Number of pages5
    JournalMolecular human reproduction
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - Sep-1998


    • preimplantation genetic diagnosis
    • single cell diagnosis
    • spinal muscular atrophy
    • survival motor neuron gene

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