Prenatal diagnosis of galactosemia.Eur J Pediatr. 1995; 154(7 Suppl 2):S33-6.EJ
The experience from three different European centres with the prenatal diagnosis of galactose-1-phosphate-uridyltransferase (GALT) deficiency is presented and the question whether or not there is a need for prenatal diagnosis of this disorder is discussed. Most prenatal diagnoses (n = 50) have been performed by assay of GALT activity in cultured amniotic fluid cells. The assay used is reliable and clearly distinguishes homozygous affected fetuses (n = 11; 0%-2.3% of mean control enzyme activity) from non-(homozygous)-affected fetuses. The GALT assay for cultured amniocytes was adapted to assay the enzyme directly in chorionic villi. The experience with chorionic villi comprises 23 cases with 5 affected fetuses (0%-4.2% of mean control enzyme activity). In 36 cases galactitol was determined in amniotic fluid supernatant by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. This method also differentiated affected (n = 11; galactitol 5.9-10.6 mumol/l) and unaffected pregnancies (galactitol 0.23-1.6 mumol/l) clearly and has the advantage of providing a result within a day or two after amniocentesis. Prenatal diagnosis of galactosemia is undertaken rarely and sometimes for the wrong reasons, but it should perhaps be considered more seriously until better methods of treatment are established.