Male microchimerism, the presence of a small number of male cells, in women has been attributed to prior pregnancies. However, male microchimerism has also been reported in women with only daughters, in nulliparous women and prepubertal girls suggesting that other sources of male microchimerism must exist. The aim of the present study was to examine the presence of male microchimerism in a cohort of healthy nulliparous Danish girls aged 10-15 y using DNA extracted from cells from whole blood (buffy coats) and report the association with potential sources of male cells. A total of 154 girls were studied of which 21 (13.6%) tested positive for male microchimerism. There was a tendency that girls were more likely to test positive for male microchimerism if their mothers previously had received transfusion, had given birth to a son or had had a spontaneous abortion. Furthermore, the oldest girls were more likely to test positive for male microchimerism. However, less than half of microchimerism positivity was attributable to these factors. In conclusion, data suggest that male microchimerism in young girls may originate from an older brother either full born or from a discontinued pregnancy or from transfusion during pregnancy. We speculate that sexual intercourse may be important but other sources of male cells likely exist in young girls.
- Female children
- male microchimerism