Characterization of human alpha fetoprotein charge microheterogeneity during fetal development

Brooks A. Keel, Robin L. Harms, Juan A. Leal, Sechin Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Aliquotes of human amniotic fluid (AF), fetal serum (FS), and cord blood (CB) were obtained as by‐products of routine clinical diagnostic procedures at term or in the second trimester of pregnancy. When samples of CB were applied to a pH 5.5‐4 chromatofocusing gradient, three isoforms of AFP could be resolved; a pl 4.57 form (isoform IA, 52% AFP), a pl 4.27 form (isoform IB, 43% AFP), and one species that was bound to the column but could be eluted with 1.0 M NaCl (isoform II, pl<4.00, 5% AFP). Term AF displayed a profile similar to that observed in term CB. When samples of 15–20‐week gestation AF were chromatofocused, the immunoreactive AFP recovered was distributed between isoform IA and IB (60%) and isoform II (40%). FS and AF obtained from same pregnancy (23–26 weeks) displayed an identical chromatofocusing profile. Aliquotes of AF subjected to conA revealed 83% reactive variants compared with >95% reactive variants for CB. FS displayed a conA profile identical to CB. When individual CB charge isoforms were isolated and subjected to conA analysis, >97% of the AFP bound to conA. In contrast, when AFP isoforms IA and IB were isolated from midgestation AF, approximately 22% of the AFP did not bind to the lectin while 100% of isolated AFP isoform II eluted as the reactive variant. These data suggest that human AFP exists as at least three charge and two lectin variants and that the charge profile may change during fetal development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-287
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Reproduction and Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • AFP
  • Cord blood
  • Fetal serum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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