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The Number of Circulating Fetal Extravillous Trophoblasts Varies from Gestational Week 6 to 20

Cell-based non-invasive prenatal testing (cbNIPT) based on circulating fetal extravillous trophoblasts (fEVTs) has shown to be possible in gestational week (GW) 10–13. Prenatal testing is relevant for a wider time period than GW10–13, but it is unclear if fEVTs are present in sufficient numbers for cbNIPT at other time points during pregnancy. 

We present the first longitudinal study where the number of circulating fEVTs was determined from the mid first trimester to the mid second, specificallyGW6–8, 12–13, and 19–20. Blood samples from 13 women opting for assisted reproduction were collected at GW 6–8, 12–13, and 19–20. fEVTs were enriched using a magnetic-activated cell sorting system, stained with anti-cytokeratin antibodies, and fEVTs were identified with the use of aMetaSystemfluorescencemicroscope scanner. Blood samples drawn atGW6–8 yielded an average of 5.5 fEVTs per 30 mL of blood. 

This increased significantly to an average of 11.8 in GW12–13 (P value: 0.0070,Mann-Whitney test), and decreased significantly to an average of 5.3 in GW 19–20 (P value: 0.0063, Mann-Whitney test). In 9 out of 13 cases, the number of fEVTs peaked in GW 12–13 compared to GW 6–8 and GW 19–20. For the majority of cases, fEVTs can be identified at GW 6–8 and GW 19–20, but the highest number of fEVTs is observed at GW 12–13 indicating this is the optimal time point for cbNIPT.