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Mol Reprod Dev. 1995 Dec;42(4):369-78.

Expression of serum albumin and of alphafetoprotein in murine normal and neoplastic primitive embryonic structures.

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  • 1IRSC-CNRS, Hopital Paul Brosse, Villejuif, France.


Alphafetoprotein (AFP), a major serum protein synthesized during the embryo-fetal and postnatal period (in the yolk sac, then in the liver), is also an oncoprotein. The intracellular presence of AFP and of serum albumin (SA) in normal and neoplastic neural crest and neural tube derivatives was previously demonstrated. In this work we have studied the comparative expression of AFP and SA in primitive neuroectoblastic structures of mouse embryos (6 and 7 days "post coitum") and mouse teratocarcinomas (derived from the PCC4 cell line). Using immunofluorescence technique, antibodies to SA gave a positive reaction in embryos of 7 days, while AFP was not detected during this period. By mRNA in situ hybridization, SA mRNA gave a strong signal in both 6 and 7 day embryos, whereas AFP mRNA gave a weak signal only in 7-day embryos. The distribution of SA and AFP and their mRNAs was investigated in primitive neuroectoblastic structures of the teratocarcinomas by in situ hybridization and immunostaining. Only SA protein was detectable by immunostaining. SA mRNA gave a strong signal in differentiating structures as well as in undifferentiated cell clusters. AFP mRNA was observed only in differentiating structure. Dot-blot hybridization indicated that the level of SA transcripts was at least 6-fold higher than that of AFP transcripts in the teratocarcinomas investigated. In teratocarcinoma-bearing mice injected intraperitoneally with 125I-radiolabeled SA and AFP, significant accumulations of both SA and AFP were demonstrated in the tumors, SA being about 3-fold higher than that of AFP after normalization to quantity of uptake in liver. External in vivo photoscanning confirmed this relationship of accumulated radiolabeled proteins. The last observation could be useful in vivo for diagnosis of teratocarcinoma. We conclude that the expression of SA relative to AFP and the external cellular uptake of SA relative to AFP are similar in normal embryonic developing tissues and in the corresponding morphologically neoplastic tissues of the teratocarcinomas. The same SA:AFP relationship constitutes an oncofetal marker of primitive neuroectoblastic structures.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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