Paulina Jankowska is pursuing PhD at the Warsaw Medical University in the Department of Biochemistry and Clinical Chemistry.rnrn
Introduction: Meconium formed in the fetal intestine is composed of a number of layers deposited as waste material in the intestinal lumen. Meconium also serves as a specific matrix for numerous proteins derived from swallowed amniotic fluid, shed fetal intestinal cells and secretions. Both the individual composition and the sum of particular protein concentrations of total protein may reflect many physiological and pathological processes during the period of intrauterine development.
Materials & Method: To determine the concentrations of total protein in meconium by assessing individual variations of this parameter in serial meconium portions passed by the neonate and analyzing inter-individual differences in intestinal protein accumulation in utero. Total protein concentrations mg/g in 80 meconium portions from 19 healthy neonates were determined by the Bradford method. The total protein content of all serial meconium portions was considered to equal the amount of total protein accumulated in the fetal intestine in utero.
Results: 1. Total protein concentration in 80 meconium portions mg/g: mean +SD=19.55+8.77, median=18.02, range=5.9–53.97 . 2. Total protein accumulation in the fetal intestine calculated for 19 neonates [mg]: mean+ SD=300.90+141.02, median=256.91, range=119.93–581.76.
Conclusion: 1. 10-fold differences between total protein concentrations in neonatal meconium confirm the heterogeneity of protein content accumulated in the fetal intestine. 2. Differences in the total protein amounts accumulated in the intestine of individual fetuses may reflect the role of particular proteins in the intrauterine development. 3. Assessment of total protein in meconium may be an easy and cheap to use laboratory parameter to differentiate physiological and pathological processes in the course of fetal development.
Barbara Lisowska-Myjak - assistant professor in Medical University of Warsaw, Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Biochemistry and Clinical Chemistry for over 40 years, author of more than 40 papers in reputed journals, manager of 2 projects , responsible for teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level, included in the international database of medical peer-reviewers.
Numerous proteins in neutrophil granules are the mediators of their biological functions. NGAL and lactoferrin are components of secondary neutrophil granules released by activation of the granulocyte. The diagnostic significance of NGAL and lactoferrin in the fetal intestine has not been yet established. The aim of the study was to assess the concentrations of these proteins in meconium, which is the intestine-specific material, formed during the intrauterine development. The concentrations of NGAL and lactoferrin were measured using commercial ELISA test kits (Immunodiagnostic AG) in serial meconium portions (n=81) collected from 20 healthy full-term neonates. The mean (±SD) concentration of lactoferrin [μg/g] was 45.07±78.53 and that of NGAL [ng/g] 1.93±2.46, with the correlation between them r=0.50; p<0.0001. In meconium samples with the concentrations of lactoferrin <25 μg/g (n=45) no correlation was found between lactoferrin and NGAL (r=0.093; p=0.55) while in meconium samples (n=36) with lactoferrin >25 μg/g, the correlation was r=0.83; p<0.0001. The total intestinal accumulation of lactoferrin [mg] and NGAL [μg] in the developing fetus, i.e. the sum of their measurements in serial meconium portions, was 0.76±0.75 and 0.028±0.021 respectively, with correlation r=0.65, p=0.0018. The findings indicate that meconium lactoferrin and NGAL measurements may provide information about neutrophil activation in the fetal intestine. Meconium lactoferrin exceeding 25 μg/g associated with significantly increased NGAL concentrations suggests that the same stimuli may induce both parameters. Further studies are required to elucidate the physiological role played by NGAL and lactoferrin in the fetal intestine in utero and after birth and establish their diagnostic role as biological markers.