Monitoring of an enzyme produced by the placenta (decidua) appears valuable in identifying both "high-risk" pregnancies and fetuses who may develop long-term disability as infants.
This was the conclusion of a series of reports presented to recent meetings in Chicago and Atlantic City by a team at New York Medical College and the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology.
Recent development of a radioassay technique for the enzyme, diamine oxidase (DAO), spurred efforts to develop a chemical diagnostic test for pregnancy, related A. Louis Southren, MD.
The idea had been suggested as far back as 1938 when rises in blood titers of the enzyme during pregnancy first were noted. (Although agreement is incomplete, it generally is thought that diamine oxidase and histaminase coincide.)
"In contrast with estriol, plasma diamine oxidase reaches significant levels in the first half of pregnancy," Dr. Southren told the Society for Pediatric Research. "Serial measurements of both,