"alpha-fetoprotein." YourDictionary, n.d. Web. 15 September 2018. <http://www.yourdictionary.com/alpha-fetoprotein>.
alpha-fetoprotein. (n.d.). Retrieved September 15th, 2018, from http://www.yourdictionary.com/alpha-fetoprotein
A glycoprotein that is abundant in the blood plasma of human and other mammalian fetuses and is also present in the serum of people with certain diseases, such as liver cancer. Abnormal levels in maternal serum are associated with certain fetal abnormalities, including Down syndrome and spina bifida.
Prenatal diagnosis of neural tube defects causing anencephaly or meningomyelocele is possible through ultrasound examination and maternal blood testing for alpha-fetoprotein, which is almost always elevated.
If the spine malformation is not skin covered, alpha-fetoprotein from the fetus's circulation may leak into the surrounding amniotic fluid, a small portion of which is absorbed into the mother's blood.
The alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) test is a blood test that is performed during pregnancy to screen the fetus for certain conditions; it is also used to screen for certain diseases in infants and children.
Alpha-fetoprotein is a substance produced by the liver of a fetus, by tumors of the liver, by testes and ovaries, and by certain other diseases of the liver.
Many cases are also detected by the testing of the mother's blood for the level of alpha-fetoprotein at about 16 weeks of pregnancy.