Alpha-fetoprotein levels in placenta, maternal, and cord blood in normal and pathologic pregnancy

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The level of placental alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) in normal pregnancy at term was found to be 5050 ± 544 ng/g fresh tissue. A significant increase was noted in the toxemic placenta associated with a rise in circulating maternal AFP level and a nonsignificant increase in cord blood. The increase in maternal AFP level in cases of premature delivery before 33 weeks' gestation and postmature delivery after 40 weeks' gestation predicted that maternal AFP measurement throughout the second and third trimester of pregnancy could be clinically established as an index of placental function.

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