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Articles by T. K Lau
Total Records ( 2 ) for T. K Lau
  N. B.Y Tsui , R Akolekar , R. W.K Chiu , K. C.K Chow , T. Y Leung , T. K Lau , K. H Nicolaides and Y.M. D. Lo

Background: Maternal plasma mRNA encoded by the PLAC4 gene (placenta-specific 4), which is transcribed from chromosome 21 in placental cells, is a potential marker for the noninvasive assessment of chromosome 21 dosage in the fetus. We evaluated the diagnostic sensitivities and specificities of 2 trisomy 21–screening approaches that use maternal plasma PLAC4 mRNA.

Methods: We studied maternal plasma samples from 153 pregnant women carrying euploid and trisomy 21 fetuses. For the samples in which the fetuses were heterozygous for the studied PLAC4 single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), we measured the ratio between 2 alleles of the SNP in maternal plasma PLAC4 mRNA (RNA-SNP) by mass spectrometric (MS) and digital PCR methods. For pregnancies involving fetuses homozygous for the SNP, we quantified the total PLAC4 mRNA concentration in maternal plasma by real-time PCR and digital PCR.

Results: For the RNA-SNP approach, we achieved a diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of 100% (95% CI, 40.2%–100%) and 89.7% (95% CI, 78.8%–96.1%), respectively, for both the MS and the digital PCR methods. For the mRNA-quantification approach, the areas under the ROC curves were 0.859 (95% CI, 0.741–0.903) and 0.833 (95% CI, 0.770–0.923) for plasma PLAC4 mRNA concentrations measured by the real-time PCR and the digital PCR methods, respectively.

Conclusions: For prenatal screening of trisomy 21, the quantification of the total PLAC4 mRNA concentration can be used in a synergistic manner with the RNA-SNP allelic ratio approach to increase the population coverage of cases in which diagnostic information can be obtained.

  Y. K Tong , S Jin , R. W.K Chiu , C Ding , K.C. A Chan , T. Y Leung , L Yu , T. K Lau and Y.M. D. Lo

Background: The use of fetal DNA in maternal plasma for noninvasive prenatal diagnosis of trisomy 21 (T21) is an actively researched area. We propose a novel method of T21 detection that combines fetal-specific epigenetic and genetic markers.

Methods: We used combined bisulfite restriction analysis to search for fetal DNA markers on chromosome 21 that were differentially methylated in the placenta and maternal blood cells and confirmed any target locus with bisulfite sequencing. We then used methylation-sensitive restriction endonuclease digestion followed by microfluidics digital PCR analysis to investigate the identified marker. Chromosome-dosage analysis was performed by comparing the dosage of this epigenetic marker with that of the ZFY (zinc finger protein, Y-linked) gene on chromosome Y.

Results: The putative promoter of the HLCS (holocarboxylase synthetase) gene was hypermethylated in the placenta and hypomethylated in maternal blood cells. A chromosome-dosage comparison of the hypermethylated HLCS and ZFY loci could distinguish samples of T21 and euploid placental DNA. Twenty-four maternal plasma samples from euploid pregnancies and 5 maternal plasma samples from T21 pregnancies were analyzed. All but 1 of the euploid samples were correctly classified.

Conclusions: The epigenetic–genetic chromosome-dosage approach is a new method for noninvasive prenatal detection of T21. The epigenetic part of the analysis can be applied to all pregnancies. Because the genetic part of the analysis uses paternally inherited, fetal-specific genetic markers that are abundant in the genome, broad population coverage should be readily achievable. This approach has the potential to become a generally usable technique for noninvasive prenatal diagnosis.

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