= 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 20th weeks of pregnancy. Levels are elevated in open neural tube defects (e.g. spina bifida), open abdominal wall defects (e.g. gastroschisis), fetal death, and multiple pregnancy. Levels of AFP are decreased in Down's syndrome. However, AFP levels are affected by the length of gestation and the mother's weight, and these factors must be considered when interpreting the results. When levels are unexpectedly high or low, further investigations (for example detailed ultrasonography) are indicated.
Alpha-fetoprotein is also produced by certain malignant teratomas and primary liver tumours (hepatomas).

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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 — [al΄fə fēt΄ō prō′tēn΄, fēt΄ō prō′tē in] n. [ ALPHA + FETO (var. of FETI ) + PROTEIN] a protein in the blood of a normal fetus, occasionally reappearing in an adult, where its presence indicates the possibility of disease or, in a pregnant woman,… …   English World dictionary

  • alpha fetoprotein — al·pha fe·to·pro·tein (alґfə fe″to proґtēn) a plasma protein produced by the fetal liver, yolk sac, and gastrointestinal tract; serum levels decline markedly by the age of one year but are again elevated in many hepatocellular… …   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 — alpha fe·to·protein …   English syllables

  • 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

  • alpha-fetoprotein — (= a fetoprotein) Proteins from the serum of vertebrate embryos, which probably fulfil the function of albumin in the mature organism. Found in both glycosylated and nonglycosylated forms. Presence in the fluid of the amniotic sac is diagnostic… …   Dictionary of molecular biology

  • 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

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