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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The relationship of fetal weight to serum albumin and alpha-fetoprotein in swine.

The within-litter relationship of fetal weight to fetal serum albumin and alpha-fetoprotein ( AFP) was investigated at d 30 to 40, 45 to 50, 50 to 60, 75 to 85 and 90 to 105 of gestation in swine. Regression equations were calculated on individual litters and regression coefficients pooled across litters within each gestational age group. Coefficients for the regression of albumin on fetal weight (microgram . ml-1 . g fetus-1) were significant over all groups and ranged from 22.5 +/- 6.6 to d 45 to 50 to .7 +/- .2 at d 95 to 105. There was no significant relationship between AFP levels and fetal weight at any gestational age. Unilateral ovariectomy-hysterectomy was performed before mating to study effects of uterine crowding on the relationship of fetal weight to AFP and albumin. Although the total number of ovulations was not different from controls, this treatment resulted in only about 1.3 more fetuses/uterine horn compared with controls at either d 40 or 60 of gestation. Fetal weights in crowded litters were not different from controls. However, AFP levels in fetuses from crowded litters were lower than in control fetuses at d 40 (4.5 +/- .1 vs 6.7 +/- .5 mg/ml). Albumin levels in crowded fetuses were significantly lower than in controls at d 60 (342 +/- 50 vs 653 +/- 41 micrograms/ml). Because none of these differences in albumin or AFP could be attributed to variation in fetal weight or fetal number at the time of sample collection, it is possible that more extreme uterine crowding earlier in development resulted in these differences. These results demonstrate that fetal serum albumin concentrations are related to fetal weight when analyzed on a within-litter basis and that unilateral ovariectomy-hysterectomy may affect serum concentrations of both AFP and albumin early in fetal development. Future studies involving the regulation of synthesis of these proteins at the cellular level during development should provide information as to how factors affecting overall fetal growth and development influence the expression of a single gene. Previously, such markers that are amenable to study early in development have been lacking.[1]


  1. The relationship of fetal weight to serum albumin and alpha-fetoprotein in swine. Stone, R.T., Christenson, R.K. J. Anim. Sci. (1982) [Pubmed]
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