, Volume 56, Issue 3, pp 365-370

Demonstration of astrocytes in cultured amniotic fluid cells of three cases with neural-tube defect

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Summary

We have investigated the origin of rapidly adhering (RA) cells in three cases of neural tube defects (two anencephali, one encephalocele). We were able to demonstrate the presence of glial fibrillary acidic (GFA) protein in variable percentages (4–80%) of RA cells cultured for 4–6 days by use of indirect immunofluorescence with GFA antiserum. Cells cultured from amniotic fluids of normal pregnancies and fetal fibroblasts were completely GFA protein negative. GFA protein is well established as a highly specific marker for astrocytes. Demonstration of astrocytes may prove to be a criterion of high diagnostic value for neural tube defects. The percentage of astrocytes decreased with increasing culture time, while the percentage of fibronectin positive cells increased both in amniotic fluid cell cultures from neural tube defects and normal pregnancies.