Effects of subtelomeric copy number variations in miscarriages.
OBJECTIVE To evaluate the usefulness of subtelomeric multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) in both the detection of subtelomeric rearrangements in fetuses with ultrasound abnormalities and normal karyotype, and the characterization of cytogenetically detectable rearrangements. METHOD We studied by subtelomeric MLPA 229 pregnancies with ultrasound findings and normal karyotype (Group 1) and five pregnancies with a cytogenetically visible but not microscopically characterizable rearrangement (Group 2). The detected imbalances were confirmed by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and parents were also studied. RESULTS In Group 1, two clinically relevant subtelomeric imbalances (14qter deletion and 20pter deletion) and one subtelomeric imbalance of uncertain significance (X/Ypter duplication) were diagnosed, showing a detection rate of cryptic subtelomeric imbalances in these pregnancies of 1.3%. However, only 14qter deletion seems to be clearly associated with the observed prenatal findings. In Group 2, MLPA contributed to the precise description of the chromosome abnormalities. CONCLUSION The low detection rate of subtelomeric imbalances and the poor genotype-phenotype correlations in pregnancies with ultrasound abnormalities and normal karyotype suggest that subtelomeric MLPA is not a crucial tool in the prenatal diagnosis of these cases. However, our work provides evidence that MLPA is very useful for the characterization of unbalanced karyotypes. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.