Confined placental chimerism: prenatal and postnatal cytogenetic and molecular analysis, and pregnancy outcome

Am J Med Genet. 1994 Mar 1;50(1):51-6. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.1320500112.


The presence of two cell lines in chorionic villi sampling (CVS) represents a significant complication in CVS analysis, interpretation, and counseling. We report on the cytogenetic and molecular analysis of a pregnancy that was conceived on clomiphene citrate. Two cell lines (46,XX and 47,XY,+9) were discovered in CVS analysis done for maternal age; 94% of the cells in the culture were 46,XX and 6% were 47,XY, +9 (the direct preparation was 46,XX). As neither line could have derived from the other, chimerism and not mosaicism was suspected, with the 47,XY,+9 cells deriving from a co-twin whose demise was the result of the autosomal trisomy. At a subsequent amniocentesis, only normal female cells were observed and a normal female infant was delivered at term. Cytogenetic analysis done on the infant's peripheral blood and on a sample of an umbilical vessel showed only 46,XX cells, while amnion and a fibrotic area of the placenta contained 2 cell lines, 46,XX and 47,XY,+9. Molecular analysis of 3 different tissues was done by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Southern blotting, using Y specific primers and probes, respectively. The presence of Y specific DNA was detected in the placenta and amnion, but not in the umbilical blood vessel. These data excluded true chimerism in the fetal tissues at the level of about 1 in 10(5) cells and have defined for the first time probable confined placental chimerism (CPC), the result most likely of a "vanishing twin." Whenever two cell lines are found in CVS, especially in the setting of pharmacologically stimulated ovulation, the possibility of CPC should be considered. The effects of CPC on placental function and fetal outcome merit further study.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Chimera*
  • Chorionic Villi Sampling
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 9
  • Female
  • Fetal Death
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Ovulation Induction
  • Placenta / cytology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Trisomy
  • Twins, Dizygotic