Mechanism of origin in two cases of chimerism


Chimerism is defined as the presence in a subject of more than one stable and genetically distinct cell line; cases reported so far include both patients with ambiguous genitalia and healthy subjects. The biological mechanisms, which may give origin to chimeras, are complex, and can be understood by analyzing DNA samples of the patients and their parents using molecular techniques. The objective of this study is to identify the mechanism of origin for the 2 cases we report. The first patient is a phenotipically normal girl with normal (external and internal) genitalia; the second patient had ambiguous genitalia and underwent surgery. DNA was purified from blood samples and, limited to Patient 1, from a sample of biliary cyst. Short tandem repeat polymorphisms were analyzed in order to identify the relative parental contribution to the patients. Molecular analyses carried out on the first patient are not fully informative because of two possible explanations (i.e. parthenogenetic and andrognetic chimera), while in the second case the presence of four alleles at some markers allowed us to identify a tetragametic chimera originnated from the fusion of two distinct embryos. Studies carried on one single tissue may not always be conclusive as they do not allow the precise identification of the mechanism of origin. In these cases, studies on more tissues are strongly suggested.

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Minelli, A. , Guala, A. , Groppo, A. , Restagno, G. , Lala, R. , Einaudi, S. , Repici, M. , Merlini, E. , Sbaiz, L. , Asnaghi, V. , Lopez, A. , Angellotti, P. , Cristina, S. and Danesino, C. (2011) Mechanism of origin in two cases of chimerism. Open Journal of Pediatrics, 1, 79-86. doi: 10.4236/ojped.2011.14019.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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