Prenatal diagnosis for severe inherited skin disorders: 25 Years' experience

H. Fassihi, R. A.J. Eady, J. E. Mellerio, G. H.S. Ashton, P. J.C. Dopping-Hepenstal, J. E. Denyer, K. H. Nicolaides, C. H. Rodeck, J. A. McGrath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Over the last 25 years there have been major advances in methods for prenatal testing of inherited skin disorders. Since 1979, our group at the St John's Institute of Dermatology has performed 269 prenatal diagnoses, using a variety of approaches, including fetal skin biopsy (FSB), chorionic villus sampling (CVS) and preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). Objectives: This study was designed to review the clinical indications, testing procedures and laboratory analyses for all prenatal tests conducted at St John's over this period. Methods: FSBs were examined for morphological and, when relevant or feasible, immunohistochemical abnormalities. The DNA-based tests involved screening by nucleotide sequencing, restriction enzyme digests or, in a few cases, by linkage analysis. Results: Of the 269 tests, 191 were FSB, 76 were CVS and two were PGD. The major indications for FSB were epidermolysis bullosa (EB) (138 cases, including 88 junctional and 48 dystrophic), ichthyoses (37 cases, including 22 tests for harlequin ichthyosis) and oculocutaneous albinism (12 cases). Of the CVS procedures, 75 were for EB (40 junctional, 35 dystrophic) and one was for the EEC (ectrodactyly, ectodermal dysplasia, clefting) syndrome. Both of the PGD procedures were for the skin fragility-ectodermal dysplasia syndrome. All tests provided accurate diagnoses and the fetal loss rate was ≈ 1% for both FSB and CVS. Conclusions: The development of prenatal testing has proved to be of great benefit for individuals or couples at risk of having children with severe inherited skin disorders and, in the absence of a cure, prenatal testing along with appropriate counselling has become an important translational benefit of basic research and an integral part of clinical management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-113
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Jan

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Dermatology


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