Phenylalanine hydroxylase and tyrosine aminotransferase in human fetal and adult liver

Juan A. Delvalle, Olga Greengard

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19 Scopus citations


The mean value of phenylalanine hydroxylase activity in adult human liver was almost twice as high as that in the fetal ones; no consistent variations were seen with sex, fetal age (between the 11th and 22nd week of gestation), or with hours between delivery and death. The tyrosine aminotransferase levels did not correlate with sex, age, or method of abortion; however, they were 5 times higher in the two fetuses which survived for more than 1.5 hr after delivery. The mean concentration of tyrosine aminotransferase (excluding these two fetuses) was about 15 times lower than in the adult liver. Phenylalanine hydroxylase is known to appear in rat liver on the 20th to 21st day of gestation. Tyrosine aminotransferase, on the other hand, emerges on the first postnatal day and, as shown here, can be evoked by premature delivery. Thus, in man as in the rat, (1) phenylalanine hydroxylase approaches physiologically significant levels at an earlier developmental stage than does tyrosine aminotransferase and (2) extrauterinization stimulates the synthesis of tyrosine aminotransferase but not of phen-ylalanine hydroxylase. Speculation: There is a greater analogy than is usually assumed between human and rat liver with respect to the time schedule of enzymic differentiation and the factors which regulate it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-5
Number of pages4
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1977
Externally publishedYes


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