Single Circulating Fetal Trophoblastic Cells Eligible for Non Invasive Prenatal Diagnosis: the Exception Rather than the Rule

Sci Rep. 2020 Jun 17;10(1):9861. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-66923-9.


Non-Invasive Prenatal Diagnosis (NIPD), based on the analysis of circulating cell-free fetal DNA (cff-DNA), is successfully implemented for an increasing number of monogenic diseases. However, technical issues related to cff-DNA characteristics remain, and not all mutations can be screened with this method, particularly triplet expansion mutations that frequently concern prenatal diagnosis requests. The objective of this study was to develop an approach to isolate and analyze Circulating Trophoblastic Fetal Cells (CFTCs) for NIPD of monogenic diseases caused by triplet repeat expansion or point mutations. We developed a method for CFTC isolation based on DEPArray sorting and used Huntington's disease as the clinical model for CFTC-based NIPD. Then, we investigated whether CFTC isolation and Whole Genome Amplification (WGA) could be used for NIPD in couples at risk of transmitting different monogenic diseases. Our data show that the allele drop-out rate was 3-fold higher in CFTCs than in maternal cells processed in the same way. Moreover, we give new insights into CFTCs by compiling data obtained by extensive molecular testing by microsatellite multiplex PCR genotyping and by WGA followed by mini-exome sequencing. CFTCs appear to be often characterized by a random state of genomic degradation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Separation
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Fetus / cytology*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease / diagnosis
  • Huntington Disease / genetics
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / methods*
  • Single-Cell Analysis*
  • Trinucleotide Repeats / genetics
  • Trophoblasts / cytology*