Approved abbreviations and units of expression for use without definition

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acceleration due to gravity g
adrenocorticotropic hormone ACTH
cyclic adenosine 3´,5´- monophosphate cyclic AMP
adenosine 5´-phosphate AMP
adenosine 5´-diphosphate ADP
adenosine 5´-triphosphate ATP
adenosine triphosphatase ATPase
advanced glycation end-product AGE
albumin excretion rate AER
ampère A
analysis of variance ANOVA
angiotensin-converting enzyme ACE
area under the curve AUC
atom per cent excess APE Back to top
base pair bp
becquerel Bq
blood pressure BP, express in mmHg
body mass index BMI
bovine serum albumin BSA
5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine BrdU Back to top
centimetre (square centimetre) cm (cm2)
chi-square χ2
coefficient of variance CV
coenzyme A and its acyl derivatives CoA and acyl-CoA
confidence interval CI
coronary heart disease CHD
correlation coefficient r
counts/minute; counts/second cpm; cps
cycles/second (frequency) Hz Back to top
dates 2 November 1998
degrees, Celsius or centigrade °C
degrees of freedom df
deoxyribonuclease DNase
deoxyribonucleic acid DNA
Diabetes Control and Complications Trial DCCT
4´,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole DAPI
dimethylsulphoxide DMSO
disintegrations/minute dpm
disintegrations/second dps
dissociation constant Kd
doses avoid Latin designations
(for instance, b. d. or t. i. d.)
Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium DMEM Back to top
median effective dose ED50
electrocardiogram ECG
electroencephalogram EEG
enzyme linked immunosorbent assay ELISA
enzyme nomenclature see Enzyme Nomenclature
[1992, Academic Press,
San Diego ]
epidermal growth factor EGF
ethylene diamime tetra-acetic acid EDTA
ethylene glycol-O--bis(2-amino-ethyl)-N, N, N´,-tetraacetic acid EGTA Back to top
fetal calf serum FCS
flavin adenine dinucleotide (reduced form) FADH2
fluorescein isothiocyanate FITC
fluorescence activated cell sorter FACS
fractional disappearance rate k
free fatty acids – not used;
use: non-esterified fatty acids
NEFA Back to top
gas chromatography GC
gas chromatography-mass spectrometry GC-MS
glomerular filtration rate GFR
glucose transporter GLUT
glutamic acid decarboxylase GAD
gram g
gravitational field, unit of g
cyclic guanosine 3´,5´-monophosphate cyclic GMP
guanosine 5´-phosphate GMP
guanosine 5´-diphosphate GDP
guanosine 5´-triphosphate GTP Back to top
haemoglobin concentration g/l
haemoglobin A1 HbA1
haemoglobin A1c HbA1c
half-life t1/2
hazard ratio HR
hertz Hz
high density lipoprotein HDL
high performance liquid chromatography HPLC
HLA nomenclature Bodmer et al. (1997)
hour h
human leucocyte antigen HLA
human umbilical vein endothelial cells HUVECs
Human Immunology 53:
HEPES Back to top
immunoglobulins A, D, E, G, M IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG, IgM
half maximal inhibitory concentration IC50
inner diameter i. d.
insulin-like growth factor IGF
insulin-receptor substrate IRS
interferon IFN
interleukin IL
intraperitoneal i. p.
intravenous i. v.
intravenous glucose tolerance test IVGTT Back to top
joule J Back to top
kilobase kb
kilocalories kcal
kilogram kg
Krebs-Ringer buffer KRB Back to top
median lethal dose LD50
lipoproteins (serum)  
    high density HDL
    low density LDL
    very low density VLDL
litre l (write in full if confusion
with numeral 1 possible)
logarithm (base 10) log10
logarithm (base e) ln
low density lipoprotein LDL Back to top
major histocompatibility complex MHC
mass spectrometry MS
maturity onset diabetes of the young MODY
messenger ribonucleic acid mRNA
metre (square metre) m (m2)
Michaelis constant Km
micromole µmol
micron (10–6 m) µm
milliequivalents not used; use: mmol/l
millilitre ml
millimetre (millimetre squared) mm (mm2)
millimetre of mercury mmHg for blood pressure (1 mmHg = 0.133 kPa)
millimolar (concentration) mmol/l (not mM)
millimole mmol
milliunit mU
millivolt mV
minute (60 seconds) min
milliosmole mosmol
molar (concentration) mol/l (not M)
mole mol
molecular weight mol. wt or Mr (not daltons) Back to top
nanogram ng
neutral protamine Hagedorn insulin NPH insulin
nicotinamide-adenine dinucleotide NAD if oxidation state
not indicated
NAD+ if oxidized
NADH if reduced
nicotinamide-adenine dinucleotide phosphate NADP if oxidation state
not indicated
NADP+ if oxidized
NADPH if reduced
non-esterified fatty acid NEFA
non-obese diabetic mouse NOD mouse
not significant NS
number in a sample n Back to top
odds ratio OR
oral glucose tolerance test OGTT
osmolality express in osmol/kg or
Back to top
pascal Pa
per cent %
phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase PEPCK
phosphate-buffered saline PBS
picogram pg
polymerase chain reaction PCR

express in kPa (except for blood pressure
and gas tensions) (1 kPa = 7.5 mm Hg)

probability of an event being due
to chance alone
p Back to top
radioimmunoassay RIA
rate constant k
relative risk RR
respiratory quotient RQ
restriction fragment length polymorphism RFLP
reverse transcription-polymerase chain
revolutions rev
revolutions/minute rev/min (not rpm)
(use g if appropriate)
ribonuclease RNase
Roswell Park Memorial Institute medium RPMI medium Back to top
saline do not use; give strength
of solution (e. g. NaCl
154 mmol/l)
second (time) s
sodium dodecyl sulphate–polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis SDS-PAGE
specific activity sp. act.
standard deviation SD
standard error of the mean SEM
steroid nomenclature see Eur J Biochem
(1989) 186: 429–458
subcutaneously s. c.
sum Σ Back to top
terminal deoxynucleotidyl-transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labelling TUNEL
thyroxine (3,3´,5,5´ tetraiodothyronine) T4
time of day e. g. 18:15 hours
transforming growth factor TGF
transport rate (maximum) Tm
triiodothyronine (3,3´,5- triiodothyronine) T3
tris(hydroxymethyl)aminomethane TRIS
tumour necrosis factor-α TNF-α Back to top
unit U Back to top
versus vs
very low density lipoprotein VLDL
maximum velocity Vmax
volt V Back to top
waist-to-hip ratio WHR
watt W
wavelength λ
World Health Organization WHO Back to top