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Arch Dis Child 91:628-629 doi:10.1136/adc.2006.097956
  • Perspectives

Meconium analysis to detect fetal exposure to neurotoxicants

  1. E M Ostrea Jr,
  2. D M Bielawski,
  3. N C Posecion Jr
  1. Department of Pediatrics, Wayne State University, Hutzel Women’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Detroit, Michigan, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr E M Ostrea
    Department of Pediatrics, Wayne State University, Hutzel Women’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Michigan, 3980 John R, Detroit, Michigan 48201, USA; eostrea{at}med.wayne.edu

    Second perspective on the paper by Ortega García et al (see page 642)

    An accurate detection of fetal exposure to drugs and other compounds (xenobiotics) is essential for studying the true prevalence of antenatal exposure to these compounds and their possible adverse effects on the fetus and infant. The ideal matrix to analyse is one that can be obtained non-invasively and is representative of a wide period of exposure of the fetus throughout gestation. Meconium is formed by the fetus as early as the 12th week of gestation, accumulates throughout pregnancy, and is normally excreted after birth by the infant. Throughout gestation, xenobiotics and their metabolites are principally deposited in meconium either directly from bile secretion or from fetal swallowing of amniotic fluid which contains these compounds which are excreted via the fetal urine. Meconium is therefore a repository of many of the xenobiotics that the fetus is exposed to throughout pregnancy and its analysis has consequently been used for the detection of fetal exposure to illicit drugs. In addition, meconium has also been successfully analysed to detect fetal exposure to various licit drugs and over the counter medications as well as to cotinine and fatty acid ethyl esters …

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