Although the pathophysiology of pre-eclampsia is unknown, several studies have indicated that abnormal placentation early in pregnancy might play a key role. It has recently been suggested that this abnormal placentation may result in transfusion of fetal cells (feto-maternal transfusion) in women with preeclampsia. In the present study, fetal nucleated red blood cells were isolated from 20 women with preeclampsia and 20 controls using a very efficient magnetic activated cell sorting (MACS) protocol. The number of male cells was determined using two-color fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) for X and Y chromosomes. Significantly more XY cells could be detected in women with pre-eclampsia (0.61 ± 1.2 XY cells/ml blood) compared to women with uncomplicated pregnancies (0.02±0.04 XY cells/ml blood) (Mann-Whitney U-test, p<0.001). These results suggest that fetal cell trafficking is enhanced in women with pre-eclampsia, and this finding may contribute to the understanding of the pathophysiology of the disease. Copyright

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Prenatal Diagnosis
Department of Gynaecology & Obstetrics

Jansen, M., Korver-Hakkennes, K., van Leenen, D., Visser, W., in't Veld, P., de Groot, C., & Wladimiroff, J. (2001). Significantly higher number of fetal cells in the maternal circulation of women with pre-eclampsia. Prenatal Diagnosis, 21(12), 1022–1026. doi:10.1002/pd.176