Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP)
AFP is a plasma protein that is normally produced by the fetus. It serves as the basis for some useful tests. AFP is manufactured principally in the fetus's liver and, also, in the fetal gastrointestinal (GI) tract and the yolk sac, a structure temporarily present during embryonic development. The level of AFP is typically high in the fetus's blood. It goes down in the baby's blood after birth. And by a year of age, it is virtually undetectable. During pregnancy, AFP crosses the placenta from the fetal circulation and appears in the mother's blood. The level of AFP in the mother's blood (the maternal serum AFP) provides a screening test for a number of disorders including: {{}}Open neural tube defects (anencephaly and spina bifida); and Down syndrome (and other chromosome abnormalities). The maternal serum AFP (MSAFP) tends to be: {{}}High with open neural tube defects such as anencephaly and spina bifida (meningomyelocele); and Low with Down syndrome (trisomy 21, an extra chromosome number 21). AFP production is essentially nil after a year of age. However, it starts up again under the stimulus of some diseases in the liver. It may, for example, be produced by the liver in viral hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver. AFP is also made by primary liver tumors (hepatomas) and by germ cell tumors (teratocarcinoma and embryonal cell carcinomas). A person's serum AFP level can therefore be used to help detect these conditions and monitor their treatment.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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  • Alpha-fetoprotein — (AFP) is a molecule produced in the developing embryo and fetus. In humans, AFP levels decrease gradually after birth, reaching adult levels by 8 to 12 months. Normal adult AFP levels are low, but detectable; however, AFP has no known function in …   Wikipedia

  • alpha-fetoprotein — or à fetoprotein or chiefly Brit alpha foetoprotein or à foetoprotein n a fetal blood protein present abnormally in adults with some forms of cancer (as of the liver) and normally in the amniotic fluid of pregnant women but with very low levels… …   Medical dictionary

  • Alpha-Fetoprotein — Alpha 1 Fetoprotein (AFP) ist ein Glykoprotein, das nur während der Embryonalentwicklung im Laufe der Schwangerschaft vom entodermalen Gewebe gebildet wird. Unübliche Konzentrationen von AFP im Fruchtwasser und im mütterlichen Blutserum gelten… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • alpha-fetoprotein — AFP; n. a protein that is formed in the liver and yolk sac of the fetus and is present in the fetal serum and secondarily in maternal blood. Maternal AFP is used as a marker in prenatal screening tests, which can be performed between the 15th and …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • alpha fetoprotein — noun an abnormally large amount of this fetoprotein in the fetus can signal an abnormality of the neural tube (as spina bifida or anencephaly) • Syn: ↑alpha foetoprotein, ↑AFP • Hypernyms: ↑fetoprotein, ↑foetoprotein …   Useful english dictionary

  • AFP (alpha-fetoprotein) — AFP is a plasma protein that is normally produced by the fetus. It serves as the basis for some valuable tests. AFP is manufactured principally in the fetus s liver and, also, in the fetal gastrointestinal (GI) tract and the yolk sac, a structure …   Medical dictionary

  • alpha-fetoprotein — AFP. A protein normally produced by a fetus. AFP levels are usually undetectable in the blood of healthy adult men or women (who are not pregnant). An elevated level of AFP suggests the presence of either a primary liver cancer or germ cell tumor …   English dictionary of cancer terms

  • Alpha-Fetoprotein — Ạlpha Fetoprotein,   Abkürzung AFP, Eiweißkörper, der in hoher Konzentration vom Fetus gebildet wird. Beim Vorliegen von bestimmten Fehlbildungen wie Neuralrohrdefekten ist der AFP Gehalt im Fruchtwasser und im mütterlichen Blut erhöht, was zur… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • alpha-fetoprotein — /al feuh fee toh proh teen, tee in/, n. Biochem. a serum protein produced during pregnancy, useful in the prenatal diagnosis of multiple births or birth defects. Abbr.: AFP [1970 75; ALPHA + FET(US) + O + PROTEIN] * * * …   Universalium

  • alpha-fetoprotein — ˌ ̷ ̷  ̷ ̷ ˌfēd.ōˌ noun Etymology: alpha (II) + feto + protein : a fetal blood protein present abnormally in adults with some forms of cancer (as of the liver) and normally in the amniotic fluid of pregnant women but with very low levels tending… …   Useful english dictionary

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