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1.  Role of epidermal growth factor and transforming growth factor α in the developing stomach 
AIMS—To determine whether epidermal growth factor (EGF) or the related transforming growth factor α (TGFα) may have a role in the developing human stomach; to substantiate the presence of EGF in human liquor in the non-stressed infant and whether EGF in amniotic fluid is maternally or fetally derived.
METHODS—The temporal expression and localisation of EGF, TGFα, and their receptors during fetal and neonatal life were examined in 20 fetal and five infant stomachs. Simultaneously, samples of amniotic fluid and fetal urine from 10 newborn infants were collected and assayed for EGF by radioimmunoassay.
RESULTS—EGF immunoreactivity was not noted in any of the specimens examined. In contrast, TGFα immunoreactivity was shown in mucous cells from 18 weeks of gestation onwards. EGF receptor immunoreactivity was seen on superficial mucous cells in gastric mucosa from 18 weeks of gestation onwards. The median concentration of EGF was 30 and 8.5 pg/ml in amniotic fluid and fetal urine, respectively, suggesting that EGF is not produced by the fetus.
CONCLUSIONS—This study adds weight to the hypothesis that swallowed EGF, probably produced by the amniotic membranes, and locally produced TGFα, may have a role in the growth and maturation of the human stomach.

 Keywords: epidermal growth factor; transforming growth factor α; EGF receptors; stomach
PMCID: PMC1720655  PMID: 9175944

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