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Magnetic cell sorting and the transferrin receptor as potential means of prenatal diagnosis from maternal blood

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      OBJECTIVE: We wanted to test whether the recently described method of using the transferrin receptor system for fluorescence-activated cell-sorter enrichment of nucleated red blood cells can be used for prenatal diagnosis from maternal blood.
      STUDY DESIGN: Instead of the laborious, expensive fluorescence-activated cell-sorter system, we used the newly described magnetic-activated cell sorter.
      RESULTS: An effective enrichment could be achieved with separation of lymphocyte subsets. With the transferrin receptor, however, the enrichment was very inefficient because of the poor specificity of the antibody itself. Even in umbilical cord blood only 25% of nucleated red blood cells were labeled as demonstrated by immunogold silver enhancement of transferrin receptor-labeled cells.
      CONCLUSION: In spite of the availability of a fast and effective separation method (magnetic-activated cell sorter) the use of the transferrin receptor antigen alone is not likely to enable a reliable identification of fetal cells in maternal circulation.

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