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      Separation and Radioimmunoassay of T 3 and T 4 in Human Breast Milk


      Hormone Research in Paediatrics

      S. Karger AG

      Thyroid hormones, Milk, Breast, Radioimmunoassay, Hypothyroidism

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          There is little agreement among published reports of the radioimmunoassayable thyroid hormone content of breast milk, likely due to wide variations in methodology applied. In order to achieve a higher degree of specificity in the determination of T<sub>3</sub> and T<sub>4</sub> concentrations in breast milk, samples were ethanol-extracted and then chromatographed on an LH-20 column. Using this method, all T<sub>3</sub> and T<sub>4</sub> RIA activity eluted with the void volume. Following pancreatin digestion and subsequent extraction of whole milk samples, void volume T<sub>3</sub> RIA activity decreased, and T<sub>3</sub> co-eluted primarily with a standard preparation of T<sub>3 </sub>or <sup>I25</sup>I-T<sub>3</sub>, at a concentration of 275 ± 132 ng/dl (mean ± SD) (n = 9). In contrast, the elution volume of T<sub>4</sub> RIA activity appeared unaffected by pancreatin. These data indicate that immunoreactive T<sub>3</sub> and T<sub>4</sub> are differentially bound to a thyroid hormone ‘binding’ substance present in breast milk. They further support the hypothesis that thyroid hormone sufficient to supplement the thyroid economy of the thyroid-deficient suckling infant is present in human breast milk.

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          Author and article information

          Horm Res Paediatr
          Hormone Research in Paediatrics
          S. Karger AG
          26 November 2008
          : 17
          : 1
          : 11-18
          Department of Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Division of Endocrinology/Diabetes, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., USA
          179669 Horm Res 1983;17:11–18
          © 1983 S. Karger AG, Basel

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          Page count
          Pages: 8


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