Flow cytometric and cytogenetic analyses in human spontaneous abortions

Raffaele De Vita, Alberto Calugi, Delia Cavallo, Patrizia Eleuteri, Antonio Vizzone

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Cytogenetic and flow cytometric analyses were performed on 38 human spontaneous abortions in an attempt to obtain information on karyotype abnormalities and to compare the two approaches of analysis. In 19 cases, it was not possible to perform cytogenetic analysis because too long a time had passed between surgical sampling and cell culture, and in vitro culture failed. Of the 19 cases analyzed, 10/19 showed a normal karyotype and 5/19 showed a single trisomy (2/5 trisomies involved chromosome 16, 1/5 trisomy involved chromosome 18, 1/5 trisomy involved chromosome 20, and 1/5 was Klinefelter syndrome). Of the remaining 4/19 cases, 2/19 showed a polyploid condition (1 tetraploidy and 1 triploidy), 1/19 a double trisomy (chromosomes 13 and 21), and 1/19 a pentasomy of the sex chromosomes (49,XXXXY). Flow cytometric analysis was performed on all abortive samples. The samples were subdivided, when possible, into two portions conventionally named "amniotic" and "chorionic", using the amniotic membrane as an anatomical reference. Maternal blood lymphocytes were used as a diploid standard for each sample. In the 19 cases not analyzed by the cytogenetic approach, flow cytometric analysis showed 9 diploid and 10 aneuploid DNA distributions. In the remaining 19 cases, analyzed with both approaches, the comparison of DNA estimations using cytogenetic and flow cytometric analyses showed good agreement. In the cases with karyotype abnormalities, flow cytometric measurement provided evidence of an alteration of DNA content with respect to the diploid standard. Flow cytometric analysis showed a diploid distribution, whereas cytogenetic analysis revealed chromosomal abnormalities in only 4/19 cases. These discordant results could be related to mosaic conditions or maternal cell contamination. Moreover, cytogenetic and flow cytometric analyses were performed on 2 amniotic cell cultures, and concordant results were obtained. The results obtained suggest that a combination of these techniques is beneficial in attempts to obtain information about DNA content alterations, even when cultures fail, and in screening studies of human abortions. © 1993 Springer-Verlag.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409 - 415
Number of pages7
JournalHuman Genetics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1993
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)

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