Molecular diagnosis of fragile X syndrome (FXS) is carried out by Southern blot or polymerase chain reaction-Southern analysis; however, these procedures are expensive and time consuming, making it impractical for mass screening programs. Willemsen et al. developed and tested the diagnostic potential of a rapid antibody test on blood smears, based on the presence of fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) in peripheral lymphocytes from normal individuals and its absence in male patients with FXS. The diagnostic power of this antibody test is perfect for men, whereas the results are less specific for women. Validation of this procedure has been achieved mainly in the Caucasian population, but no reports including Latin American individuals have been published. To test this procedure, expression of FMRP in peripheral lymphocytes was achieved both in Mexican FXS patients and normal men and was compared with the molecular analysis of the CGG repetitive sequences of the FMR1 gene. The results of the antibody test, which measure the FMRP expression, entirely correlated with the molecular tests using polymerase chain reaction on DNA modified. Sensitivity and specificity of the test and the positive and negative predictive values were 100%. This noninvasive test requires one or two blood drops; it is rapid, simple, and inexpensive, making this procedure an ideal choice for screening large groups of male patients with mental retardation.

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Genetic Testing and Molecular Biomarkers
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Romero-Espinoza, P., Rosales-Reynoso, M., Willemsen, R., & Barros-Núñez, P. (2010). FMR1 protein expression in blood smears for fragile X syndrome diagnosis in a mexican population sample. Genetic Testing and Molecular Biomarkers, 14(4), 511–514. doi:10.1089/gtmb.2009.0172