Protein Absorption by the Intestine of the Fetal Rat in Utero

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Science  11 Aug 1972:
Vol. 177, Issue 4048, pp. 522-524
DOI: 10.1126/science.177.4048.522


Horseradish peroxidase (molecular weight, about 40,000) injected into the amniotic sacs in pregnant rats has been identified ultrastructurally, 6 to 18 hours later, within the fetal intestine in the absorptive cells and the underlying vascular endothelium. This indicates that macromolecular protein within amniotic fluid swallowed by the fetus can be absorbed and transported by fetal intestine, and may indicate that physiological compounds can be transported by this enteric route to contribute to fetal development.