Alpha-fetoprotein is present in the fetal fluids and is increased in plasma of mares with experimentally induced ascending placentitis

Igor F. Canisso, Barry A. Ball, Kirsten E. Scoggin, Edward L. Squires, Neil M. Williams, Mats H. Troedsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objectives of this study were to: (i) determine alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) concentrations in fetal fluids (FF), and (ii) compare plasma concentrations of AFP in mares with placentitis (n= 17) and gestationally age-matched control mares (n= 17). Fetal fluid sampling (FFS, n= 7/group) was performed at 0, 5 and 12 days post inoculation (DPI) or until abortion. Plasma was harvested daily for 12 days or until abortion. Placentitis was induced via intracervical inoculation of Streptococcus equi ssp. zooepidemicus. Proteins present in the FF were resolved by 1D-SDS-PAGE, and immunoblotting was used to detect the presence of AFP in fetal fluids. Concentrations of AFP in FF and plasma were determined with a chemiluminescence immunoassay. Mixed models for DPI, and for days from abortion (DFA) were used to analyze plasma concentrations of AFP. A protein band ~68. kDa consistent with the AFP size was present in all samples of fetal fluids examined. Immunoblotting for AFP revealed a single protein band (~68. kDa) in all samples. Concentrations of AFP in FF appeared higher than those in maternal plasma. There were effects of time (DPI p<. 0.0001; DFA p= 0.0002) and time-by-group interactions (DPI*Group p<. 0.06; Group*DFA p<. 0.001). This study confirmed that AFP is present in the FF of mares during the third trimester of pregnancy. Experimentally induced placentitis was associated with an elevation in maternal plasma concentrations of AFP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-55
Number of pages8
JournalAnimal reproduction science
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Abortion
  • Alpha-fetoprotein
  • Equine
  • Fetal fluids
  • Placental pathology
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Endocrinology


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