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Type: Journal article
Title: Human choriogonadotrophin protein core and sugar branches heterogeneity: basic and clinical insights
Author: de Medeiros, S.
Norman, R.
Citation: Human Reproduction Update, 2009; 15(1):69-95
Publisher: Oxford Univ Press
Issue Date: 2009
ISSN: 1355-4786
Statement of
S.F. de Medeiros and R.J. Norman
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) is measured in serum and urine for the early detection of ectopic pregnancy, patients with higher risk of miscarriage, embryos or fetuses with chromosome abnormalities, prediction of pre-eclampsia or fetal growth restriction and identification or follow-up of trophoblast neoplasia. This review examines basic knowledge on the heterogeneity of hCG protein core and sugar branches and its relevance to assays used in a clinical setting. METHODS: The databases Scielo and Medline/Pubmed were consulted for identification of the most relevant published papers. Search terms were gonadotrophin, glycoprotein structure, hCG structure and molecular forms of hCG. RESULTS: The synthesis of alpha (hCG) and beta (hCGβ) peptide chains and their further glycosylation involve the complex action of different enzymes. After assembly, hCG reaches the cell surface and is secreted as a bioactive heterodimer. The complex cascade of enzymes acting in hCG secretion results in heterogeneous molecular forms. The hCG molecules are differently metabolized by the liver, ovary and kidney, but the majority of hCG forms are excreted in the urine. Intact hCG, hCG, hCGβ, hyperglycosylated (hCGh), nicked (hCGn) and core fragment of hCGβ (hCGβcf) forms have relevant clinical use. The immunogenicity of each hCG variant, their epitopes distribution and the available antibodies are important for the development of specific assays. Depending on the prevalent form or proportion in relation to the intact hCG, the choice of assay for measurement of a specific molecule in a particular clinical setting is paramount. CONCLUSIONS: Measurement of hCG and/or its related molecules is useful in clinical practice, but greater awareness is needed worldwide regarding the use of new sensitive and specific assays tailored for different clinical applications.
Keywords: human choriogonadotrophin
Description: Copyright © The Author 2008. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. All rights reserved.
DOI: 10.1093/humupd/dmn036
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Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest
Obstetrics and Gynaecology publications

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