Get access

Raising antibodies against circulating foetal cells from maternal peripheral blood


  • Funding sources: The Danish Council for Independent Research – Technology and Production Sciences (09–065063).

  • Conflicts of interest: None declared

Correspondence to: Peter Kristensen. E-mail:



Cells of foetal origin circulating in the maternal peripheral bloodstream present a unique source for non-invasive prenatal diagnostics. The aims of this study were to raise antibodies against identified circulating foetal cells from the maternal blood, test the properties of these antibodies and to determine the foetal cell type recognised by the antibodies.


Cells from a male foetus were identified in a maternal blood sample by FISH analysis of the X- and Y- chromosomes. The identified cells were subjected to phage display selection using a novel single cell selection strategy. Selected antibodies were tested by immunocytochemistry on foetal and adult tissue arrays, an endothelial cell line, and peripheral blood mononuclear cells.


Three identified foetal cells subjected to antibody selection, yielded a total of 12 antibodies. Three antibodies gave distinct staining patterns on tissue arrays, and endothelial cells. One antibody, SF1.3, shows specific staining of a subpopulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells, including a fraction of CD34 positive cells.


These findings indicate that the identified foetal cells could have been progenitor cells of haematopoietic origin. The antibody SF1.3 could be a potential tool toward non-invasive prenatal diagnostics. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.