Definitions for "Alpha fetoprotein"
Keywords:  spina, bifida, anencephaly, afp, neural
A form of albumin (a protein in the blood) produced only by the fetus, but crosses the placenta and so is detectable in the mother's blood (measured with a serum alpha fetoprotein, as well as being usefully measured in amniotic fluid obtained by amniocentesis. Detectable in higher than usual concentration with certain open abnormalities involving the fetus's brain and spinal cord (namely anencephaly and spina bifida). Present in lower than usual concentration when there is a trisomyin the fetus, such as Down syndrome (or trisomy 21), trisomy 18 or possibly Klinefelter syndrome -- screening for all of which can be done with a triple test.
A substance produced by the fetus. High levels in a mother's blood can indicate a neural tube defect or multiple pregnancy.
an abnormally large amount of this fetoprotein in the fetus can signal an abnormality of the neural tube (as spina bifida or anencephaly)