In most pregnancies the chromosomal complement detected in the fetus is also present in the placenta. The detection of an identical chromosomal complement in both the fetus and its placenta has always been expected as both develop from the same zygote. However, in approximately 2% of viable pregnancies studied by chorionic villus sampling (CVS) at 9 to 11 weeks of gestation, the cytogenetic abnormality, most often trisomy, is confined to the placenta. This phenomenon is known as confined placental mosaicism (CPM). It was first described by Kalousek and Dill in term placentas of infants born with unexplained intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). Contrary to generalised mosaicism, which is characterised by the presence of two or more karyotypically different cell lines within both the fetus and its placenta, CPM represents tissue specific chromosomal mosaicism affecting the placenta only. The diagnosis of CPM is most commonly made when, after the diagnosis of chromosomal mosaicism in a CVS sample, the second prenatal testing (amniotic fluid culture or fetal blood culture analysis) shows a normal diploid karyotype.
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