Somatic mosaicisms of chromosome 1 at two different stages of ontogenetic development detected by Rh blood group discrepancies.


Department of Blood Group Serology and Transfusion Medicine, Medical University of Vienna, Austria [Email]


Spontaneous Rh blood group changes are a striking sign, reported to occur mainly in patients with hematologic disorders. Upon routine blood grouping, 2 unrelated individuals showed unexplained mixed red cell phenotype regarding the highly immunogenic c antigen (RH4), clinically relevant for blood transfusion and fetomaternal incompatibility. About half of their red cells were c-positive, whereas the other half were c-negative. These apparently hematologically healthy females had no history of transfusion or transplantation, and they tested negative for chimerism. Genotyping of flanking chromosome 1 microsatellites in blood, finger nails, hair, leukocyte subpopulations, and erythroid progenitor cells showed partial loss of heterozygosity encompassing the RHD/RHCE loci, spanning a 1p region of 26.7 or 42.4 Mb, respectively. Remarkably, in one case this was detected in all investigated tissues, whereas in the other, exclusively myeloid cells showed loss of heterozygosity. Both carried the RhD-positive haplotypes CDe and the RhD-negative haplotype cdeRHD/RHCE genotypes of single erythroid colonies and dual-color fluorescent in situ hybridization analyses indicated loss of the cde haplotype and duplication of the CDe haplotype in the altered cell line. Accordingly, red cell C antigen (RH2) levels of both propositae were higher than those of heterozygous controls. Taken together, the Rhc phenotype splitting appeared to be caused by deletion of a part of 1p followed by duplication of homologous stretches of the sister chromosome. In one case, this phenomenon was confined to myeloid stem cells, while in the other, a pluripotent stem cell line was affected, demonstrating somatic mosaicism at different stages of ontogenesis.