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Plasma protein levels in normal human fetuses: 13 to 41 weeks' gestation.

Fryer, A.A.; Jones, P.; Strange, R.; Hume, R.; Bell, J.E.


P. Jones

R. Strange

R. Hume

J.E. Bell


Objective To establish reference ranges for the levels of alpha-fetoprotein, albumin, prealbumin (transthyretin) alpha-1-antitrypsin, transferrin, ceruloplasmin and total protein in the plasma of normal human fetuses and newborn babies.

Design Prospective study of individual normal cases to fulfil objectives.

Setting Pathology laboratories of the University of Edinburgh and the biochemistry laboratories of the University of Keele.

Subjects Twenty-two normal fetuses 13 to 22 weeks of gestation and 66 babies born between 24 and 41 weeks gestation.

Results Albumin is the predominant plasma protein throughout gestation. The levels of alpha-fetoprotein and prealbumin fell significantly with increasing gestation, whereas the concentrations of the other proteins studied increased. The ratios of individual proteins to total protein demonstrated similar trends.

Conclusions This study provides developmental profiles of normal human fetal plasma proteins to serve as possible reference data for abnormal fetuses. Declining levels of prealbumin (transthyretin) were unexpected and suggest a functional role for this protein in early pregnancy.


Fryer, A., Jones, P., Strange, R., Hume, R., & Bell, J. (1993). Plasma protein levels in normal human fetuses: 13 to 41 weeks' gestation. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 100(9), 850-855.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 1993-09
Deposit Date Feb 8, 2024
Journal BJOG
Print ISSN 1470-0328
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 100
Issue 9
Pages 850-855
Publisher URL
PMID 8218008