Amniotic fluid for screening of lysosomal storage diseases presenting in utero (mainly as non-immune hydrops fetalis)

Clin Chim Acta. 1996 Apr 30;248(2):143-55. doi: 10.1016/0009-8981(95)06250-5.


Seventy amniotic fluids (AF) were sampled because of abnormal ultrasound findings (mainly non-immune hydrops fetalis (54 cases) or of the presence of vacuolated lymphocytes in fetal blood (3 cases)). They were analysed by a procedure involving AF supernatant analysis (glycosaminoglycans, oligosaccharides, free sialic acid and acid hydrolase activities) and biochemical study of cultured AF cells. Ten cases of lysosomal storage diseases (LSD) were diagnosed. The reported procedure allows an orientating screening within 3 days by analysis of 15 ml of third trimester AF supernatant (except for Gaucher and Niemann-Pick diseases). In some cases, the results allow an LSD diagnosis and a medical abortion without waiting for the formal diagnosis (in cultured AF cells that needs 3 more weeks), considering the poor prognosis of these LSD presenting in utero. Furthermore, the formal assessment of the diagnosis in the cultured fetal cells allows accurate genetic counselling for the couple.

MeSH terms

  • Amniotic Fluid / chemistry*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Glucuronidase / deficiency
  • Glycosaminoglycans / analysis
  • Humans
  • Hydrops Fetalis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lysosomal Storage Diseases / diagnosis*
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid / analysis
  • Oligosaccharides / analysis
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis*
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal


  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Glucuronidase
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid