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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1990 Jan;162(1):253-61.

Umbilical amino acid concentrations in normal and growth-retarded fetuses sampled in utero by cordocentesis.

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Department of Obstetrics-Gynecology, Ospedale San Paolo, University of Milano, Italy.


Fetal plasma amino acid concentrations were obtained by cordocentesis at midgestation in 11 normal (appropriate for gestational age) fetuses and at late gestation in 12 small-for-gestational-age fetuses, and at cesarean section in 14 normal term infants. In normal fetuses total molar amino acid concentrations and fetal/maternal total molar concentration ratios did not change significantly between the second and third trimesters. Fetal and maternal concentrations of most amino acids were significantly correlated at both midgestation and late gestation. Small-for-gestational-age fetuses had significantly lower concentrations of total alpha-aminonitrogen; this was mainly because of a reduction of the branched chain amino acids valine, leucine, and isoleucine, and of lysine and serine. Maternal arterial concentrations of phenylalanine, arginine, histidine, and alanine were elevated in small-for-gestational-age pregnancies. Thus there are only minor changes in amino acid concentrations between midgestation and late gestation in normal fetuses with a constant fetal/maternal ratio. In small-for-gestational-age infants a significant reduction in alpha-aminonitrogen and in most essential amino acids was demonstrable in utero weeks before delivery.

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