EGF- and TGF-alpha-like peptides in human fetal gut

Pediatr Res. 1989 Jul;26(1):25-30. doi: 10.1203/00006450-198907000-00009.


The presence of epidermal growth factor (EGF) and transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF alpha) immunoreactivities in fetal human tissues was studied immunohistochemically at different gestational ages. EGF and TGF alpha immunoreactivities were detected from the 20th gestational wk. EGF immunoreactivity was limited to the small intestine, but TGF alpha immunoreactive cells were present in the colon also. According to radioreceptor assay, the intestine of a 19-wk-old human fetus contained 10 times more EGF receptor-binding substance than EGF, as measured by immunofluorometric assay. Chromatographic analysis suggests that TGF alpha-like peptides account for at least part of this activity, as so argues in favor of the presence of TGF alpha- and EGF-like peptides in the human fetal gut. Whether they are synthesized in the fetus is yet unknown.

MeSH terms

  • Digestive System / analysis*
  • Duodenum / analysis
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / analysis*
  • Fetus / analysis*
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Ileum / analysis
  • Jejunum / analysis
  • Transforming Growth Factors / analysis*


  • Epidermal Growth Factor
  • Transforming Growth Factors