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Radioimmunoassay of maternal serum alpha fetoprotein during pregnancy and delivery

  • Markku Seppälä
    Footnotes
    Affiliations
    Department II of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland

    the Department of Serology and Bacteriology, University of Helsinki Helsinki, Finland
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  • Erkki Ruoslahti
    Affiliations
    Department II of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland

    the Department of Serology and Bacteriology, University of Helsinki Helsinki, Finland
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  • Author Footnotes
    ∗ Present adress: Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.
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      Abstract

      Alpha fetoprotein (α-FP) was determined by radioimmunoassay in 79 sera from 63 women at different stages of pregnancy and after delivery. These are the first published quantitative data for α-FP in pregnancy sera. During the first trimester, the α-FP level in 21 of 22 maternal sera ranged from 18 to 119 ng. per milliliter. During the second trimester, the concentrations varied from 96 to 302 ng. per milliliter; and during the third trimester, from 160 to 550 ng. per milliliter. At labor, the serum α-FP level ranged from 103 to 400 ng. per milliliter. There was a significant correlation (r = 0.87, p = 0.01) between the mother's α-FP concentration and that of her child. In 3 of 10 mothers, values on the first day after delivery were higher than during labor. This was considered to be a consequence of fetomaternal transfusion. Maternal serum α-FP concentration fell rapidly during the postpartum period; the average half-life of maternal α-FP was about 5 days. No evidence for maternal antibody to α-FP was found.
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