Plasma concentrations of alpha-1-acid glycoprotein in preterm and term newborns: influence of mode of delivery and implications for plasma protein binding of local anaesthetics

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Alpha-1-acid glycoprotein (AAGP) is an acute-phase protein with high affinity for amide local anaesthetics (LAs), and a major determinant of free and potentially toxic concentrations of LAs in plasma. Neonates are known to have lower plasma concentrations of AAGP than adults, and are at risk of developing high free concentrations of LAs. Data regarding AAGP in newborns are so far sparse. The aim of this study was to determine plasma concentrations of AAGP after delivery of preterm and term infants, and to investigate correlations between AAGP and gestational age, birth weight, gender, and mode of delivery.


In this prospective observational study, blood was sampled from umbilical cords of 70 newborn infants born at gestational weeks 27–42 immediately after delivery. Blood samples were subsequently analysed for AAGP plasma concentrations with an immunoturbidimetric assay.


We found higher concentrations of AAGP in infants born vaginally compared with those who were delivered by elective Caesarean section [median (inter-quartile range) 0.189 g litre−1 (0.142–0.263 g litre−1) vs 0.110 g litre−1 (0.094–0.157 g litre−1; P=0.0003)], respectively. There was a correlation between gestational age and AAGP concentrations (r=0.50; P=0.011), with significantly higher concentrations in the more mature infants. Gender and birth weight did not appear to influence the plasma concentrations of AAGP.


Alpha-1-acid glycoprotein concentrations in newborns are influenced both by gestational age and mode of delivery. Thus, when dosing local anaesthetics in a parturient, these factors should be taken into account.

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