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

A prospective study of amniotic fluid cholinesterases: comparison of quantitative and qualitative methods for the detection of open neural tube defects.

The value of quantitative and qualitative methods of cholinesterase (ChE) analysis in the detection of open neural tube defect (NTD) has been assessed in a prospective survey of 1495 mid-trimester amniotic fluids. Using a quantitative method the mean ChE values were much lower in fluids from pregnancies of normal outcome but it was not possible to discriminate these fluids completely from those associated with NTD pregnancies, particularly when the specimens were contaminated with blood. Similarly, measurement of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity alone by three different methods also failed to eliminate the overlap between the two groups. In contrast, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis revealed only a single band of ChE activity in 1408 out of 1410 fluids from pregnancies with a normal outcome whilst amniotic fluids from all 60 cases of open NTD, 6 out of 7 cases of exomphalos and 3 out of 4 cases of intra-uterine death gave the characteristic second faster-running AChE band. A qualitative gel method which requires the same amount of ChE activity to be loaded from each amniotic fluid is an effective method for pre-natal diagnosis of NTDs.[1]


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