Triploid syndrome

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Triploid syndrome
Other names69,XXX [1] 2n/3n mixoploidy, 3n syndrome, chromosome triploidy syndrome, diploid/triploid mixoploidy, triploidy, triploidy syndrome
A karyotype of a person with triploidy
Specialty Medical genetics

Triploid syndrome, also called triploidy, is a chromosomal disorder in which a fetus has three copies of every chromosome instead of the normal two. If this occurs in only some cells, it is called mosaic triploidy and is less severe.


Most embryos with triploidy miscarry early in development.

Signs and symptoms

Many organ systems are affected by triploidy, but the central nervous system and skeleton are the most severely affected:

Common central nervous system defects seen in triploidy include holoprosencephaly, hydrocephalus (increased amount of cerebrospinal fluid within the brain), ventriculomegaly, Arnold–Chiari malformation, agenesis of the corpus callosum and neural tube defects.[ citation needed ]

Skeletal manifestations include cleft lip/palate, hypertelorism, club foot and syndactyly of fingers three and four[ citation needed ].

Congenital heart defects, hydronephrosis, omphalocele and meningocele (spina bifida) are also common. Cystic hygromas occur but are uncommon.[ citation needed ]

Triploid fetuses have intrauterine growth restriction beginning early in the pregnancy, as early as 12 weeks, and does not affect the head as severely as the body. Oligohydramnios, low levels of amniotic fluid, is common in triploid pregnancies. Placental abnormalities are common in triploidy. Most frequently, the placenta is enlarged and may have cysts within. In some cases, the placenta may be unusually small, having ceased to grow. [2]

During the first trimester, fetuses with Triploidy have a thicker fluid under the skin behind their neck, which calls for observation during the first and second trimester of gestation.[ citation needed ]

The mother will usually have high levels of specific proteins including maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Symptoms to look out for include but are not limited to swelling, edema, or hypertension. [3]

Infants may show facial abnormalities, micrognathia, cleft lip, spina bifida, as well as other birth defects that result from kidney, limb, and umbilical cord complications. They are also prone to being smaller than a normal sized newborn, a problem that arises while the infant is still a fetus.[ citation needed ]


Triploidy is caused by an extra set of chromosomes.[ citation needed ]

Triploidy can result from either two sperm fertilizing one egg (polyspermy) (60%) or from one sperm fertilizing an egg with two copies of every chromosome (40%). [2] These are otherwise known as diandric fertilization and digynic fertilization. Pregnancies caused by digynic fertilization are more likely to end right before a baby is due for full term. Pregnancies caused by diandric fertilization result in a miscarriage towards the first trimester. [3]

Another factor known as a partial mole pregnancy can cause triploidy. It is known to cause early termination, cancer, and even a second molar pregnancy. [3]


Triploidy may be suggested by dramatically elevated levels of serum alpha-fetoprotein. On obstetric ultrasonography, abnormalities of the skeleton, central nervous system, heart, abdomen, and kidneys are visible in the most severe cases beginning at 12-14 weeks of pregnancy. Placental abnormalities associated with a triploid pregnancy become visible at 12-14 weeks. Placentomegaly or intrauterine growth restriction are the typical findings that prompt evaluation for triploidy, though oligohydramnios may be the first sign in some cases. Placentomegaly is not pathognomonic for triploidy because in some cases, the placenta senesces. [2]

Triploidy must be distinguished from trisomy 13 and trisomy 18, which may appear similar on sonography. Genetic testing allows for a definitive diagnosis. [2]

A sample of amniotic fluid can also be tested to diagnose triploidy. [3]


Most fetuses with triploidy do not survive to birth, and those that do usually die within days. As there is no treatment for triploidy, palliative care is given if a baby survives to birth. If triploidy is diagnosed during the pregnancy, termination is often offered as an option due to the additional health risks for the mother (pre-eclampsia, a life-threatening condition, or choriocarcinoma, a type of cancer). Should a mother decide to carry until term or until a spontaneous miscarriage occurs, doctors will monitor her closely in case either condition develops.[ citation needed ]

Mosaic triploidy has an improved prognosis, but affected individuals have moderate to severe cognitive disabilities. [2]


Triploidy affects approximately 1–2% of pregnancies, but most miscarry early in development. At birth, males with triploidy are 1.5 times more common than females. [2]

See also

Related Research Articles

Trisomy Medical condition

A trisomy is a type of polysomy in which there are three instances of a particular chromosome, instead of the normal two. A trisomy is a type of aneuploidy.

Intrauterine growth restriction Medical condition

Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) refers to poor growth of a fetus while in the mother's womb during pregnancy. The causes can be many, but most often involve poor maternal nutrition or lack of adequate oxygen supply to the fetus.

Amniocentesis Sampling of amniotic fluid to detect mostly fetal chromosomal abnormalities

Amniocentesis is a medical procedure used primarily in prenatal diagnosis of chromosomal abnormalities and fetal infections as well as for sex determination. In this procedure, a small amount of amniotic fluid, which contains fetal tissues, is sampled from the amniotic sac surrounding a developing fetus. The fetal DNA is then examined for genetic abnormalities.

Prenatal testing consists of prenatal screening and prenatal diagnosis, which are aspects of prenatal care that focus on detecting problems with the pregnancy as early as possible. These may be anatomic and physiologic problems with the health of the zygote, embryo, or fetus, either before gestation even starts or as early in gestation as practicable. Screening can detect problems such as neural tube defects, chromosome abnormalities, and gene mutations that would lead to genetic disorders and birth defects, such as spina bifida, cleft palate, Downs Syndrome, Tay–Sachs disease, sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, and fragile X syndrome. Some tests are designed to discover problems which primarily affect the health of the mother, such as PAPP-A to detect pre-eclampsia or glucose tolerance tests to diagnose gestational diabetes. Screening can also detect anatomical defects such as hydrocephalus, anencephaly, heart defects, and amniotic band syndrome.

Chorionic villus sampling

Chorionic villus sampling (CVS), sometimes called "chorionic villous sampling", is a form of prenatal diagnosis to determine chromosomal or genetic disorders in the fetus. It entails sampling of the chorionic villus and testing it for chromosomal abnormalities, usually with FISH or PCR. CVS usually takes place at 10–12 weeks' gestation, earlier than amniocentesis or percutaneous umbilical cord blood sampling. It is the preferred technique before 15 weeks.

Polyhydramnios Excess of amniotic fluid in the amniotic sac

Polyhydramnios is a medical condition describing an excess of amniotic fluid in the amniotic sac. It is seen in about 1% of pregnancies. It is typically diagnosed when the amniotic fluid index (AFI) is greater than 24 cm. There are two clinical varieties of polyhydramnios: chronic polyhydramnios where excess amniotic fluid accumulates gradually, and acute polyhydramnios where excess amniotic fluid collects rapidly.

Oligohydramnios is a condition in pregnancy characterized by a deficiency of amniotic fluid. It is the opposite of polyhydramnios.

Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome Medical condition

Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), also known as feto-fetal transfusion syndrome (FFTS), twin oligohydramnios-polyhydramnios sequence (TOPS) and stuck twin syndrome is a complication of disproportionate blood supply, resulting in high morbidity and mortality. It can affect monochorionic multiples, that is, multiple pregnancies where two or more fetuses share a chorion and hence a single placenta. Severe TTTS has a 60–100% mortality rate.

Potter sequence is the atypical physical appearance of a baby due to oligohydramnios experienced when in the uterus. It includes clubbed feet, pulmonary hypoplasia and cranial anomalies related to the oligohydramnios. Oligohydramnios is the decrease in amniotic fluid volume sufficient to cause deformations in morphogenesis of the baby.

The triple test, also called triple screen, the Kettering test or the Bart's test, is an investigation performed during pregnancy in the second trimester to classify a patient as either high-risk or low-risk for chromosomal abnormalities.

Prenatal development includes the development of the embryo and of the foetus during a viviparous animal's gestation. Prenatal development starts with fertilization, in the germinal stage of embryonic development, and continues in fetal development until birth.

The Pallister–Killian syndrome (PKS), also termed tetrasomy 12p mosaicism or the Pallister mosaic aneuploidy syndrome, is an extremely rare and severe genetic disorder. PKS is due to the presence of an extra and abnormal chromosome termed a small supernumerary marker chromosome (sSMC). sSMCs contain copies of genetic material from parts of virtually any other chromosome and, depending on the genetic material they carry, can cause various genetic disorders and neoplasms. The sSMC in PKS consists of multiple copies of the short arm of chromosome 12. Consequently, the multiple copies of the genetic material in the sSMC plus the two copies of this genetic material in the two normal chromosome 12's are overexpressed and thereby cause the syndrome. Due to a form of genetic mosaicism, however, individuals with PKS differ in the tissue distributions of their sSMC and therefore show different syndrome-related birth defects and disease severities. For example, individuals with the sSMC in their heart tissue are likely to have cardiac structural abnormalities while those without this sSMC localization have a structurally normal heart.

Nuchal scan Routine ultrasound done between 11 and 14 weeks pregnancy

A nuchal scan or nuchal translucency (NT) scan/procedure is a sonographic prenatal screening scan (ultrasound) to detect chromosomal abnormalities in a fetus, though altered extracellular matrix composition and limited lymphatic drainage can also be detected.

Confined placental mosaicism (CPM) represents a discrepancy between the chromosomal makeup of the cells in the placenta and the cells in the fetus. CPM was first described by Kalousek and Dill in 1983. CPM is diagnosed when some trisomic cells are detected on chorionic villus sampling and only normal cells are found on a subsequent prenatal test, such as amniocentesis or fetal blood sampling. In theory, CPM is when the trisomic cells are found only in the placenta. CPM is detected in approximately 1-2% of ongoing pregnancies that are studied by chorionic villus sampling (CVS) at 10 to 12 weeks of pregnancy. Chorionic villus sampling is a prenatal procedure which involves a placental biopsy. Most commonly when CPM is found it represents a trisomic cell line in the placenta and a normal diploid chromosome complement in the baby. However, the fetus is involved in about 10% of cases.

Percutaneous umbilical cord blood sampling

Percutaneous umbilical cord blood sampling (PUBS), also called cordocentesis, fetal blood sampling, or umbilical vein sampling is a diagnostic genetic test that examines blood from the fetal umbilical cord to detect fetal abnormalities. Fetal and maternal blood supply are typically connected in utero with one vein and two arteries to the fetus. The umbilical vein is responsible for delivering oxygen rich blood to the fetus from the mother; the umbilical arteries are responsible for removing oxygen poor blood from the fetus. This allows for the fetus’ tissues to properly perfuse. PUBS provides a means of rapid chromosome analysis and is useful when information cannot be obtained through amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling, or ultrasound ; this test carries a significant risk of complication and is typically reserved for pregnancies determined to be at high risk for genetic defect. It has been used with mothers with immune thrombocytopenic purpura.

Velamentous cord insertion Medical condition

Velamentous cord insertion is a complication of pregnancy where the umbilical cord is inserted in the fetal membranes. It is a major cause of anterpartum hemorrhage that leads to loss of fetal blood and associated with high perinatal mortality. In normal pregnancies, the umbilical cord inserts into the middle of the placental mass and is completely encased by the amniotic sac. The vessels are hence normally protected by Wharton's jelly, which prevents rupture during pregnancy and labor. In velamentous cord insertion, the vessels of the umbilical cord are improperly inserted in the chorioamniotic membrane, and hence the vessels traverse between the amnion and the chorion towards the placenta. Without Wharton's jelly protecting the vessels, the exposed vessels are susceptible to compression and rupture.

Single umbilical artery Medical condition

Occasionally, there is only the one single umbilical artery (SUA) present in the umbilical cord. This is sometimes also called a two-vessel umbilical cord, or two-vessel cord. Approximately, this affects between 1 in 100 and 1 in 500 pregnancies, making it the most common umbilical abnormality. Its cause is not known.

Elevated alpha-fetoprotein refers to a state where alpha-fetoprotein levels are outside of the reference range.

Constriction ring syndrome Medical condition

Constriction ring syndrome (CRS) is a congenital disorder with unknown cause. Because of the unknown cause there are many different, and sometimes incorrect names. It is a malformation due to intrauterine bands or rings that give deep grooves in, most commonly, distal extremities like fingers and toes. In rare cases the constriction ring can form around other parts of the fetus and cause amputation or even intrauterine death. The anatomy proximal to the site of constriction is developmentally normal. CRS can be associated with other malformations with club foot being most common. The precise configuration of the bands, lymphedema, and character of the amputations are not predictable and vary with each individual patient. Also more than one extremity is usually affected, and it is rare for only one ring to present as an isolated malformation with no other manifestation of this syndrome.


  1. Erol O, Erol M, Karaca M (October 2013). "Complete chorioamniotic separation and persistence of a yolk sac associated with triploidy". Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada. 35 (10): 914–6. doi:10.1016/S1701-2163(15)30813-6. PMID   24165059.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Sanders, Roger C. (2002-01-01). Structural Fetal Abnormalities: The Total Picture. Mosby. ISBN   9780323014762.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Holland, Kimberly (October 14, 2016). "Triploidy". Healthline.
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