Approved abbreviations and units of expression for use without definition

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acceleration of free fall g
adrenocorticotropic hormone ACTH
cyclic adenosine 3´,5´- monophosphate cAMP
adenosine 5´-phosphate AMP
adenosine 5´-diphosphate ADP
adenosine 5´-triphosphate ATP
adenosine triphosphatase ATPase
advanced glycation end-product AGE
albumin excretion rate AER
American Diabetes Association ADA
ampère A
analysis of covariance ANCOVA
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
5'—C—phosphate—G—3' CpG
centimetre (square centimetre) cm (cm2)
chi-square χ2
cluster of differentiation CD
coefficient of variation CV
coenzyme A and its acyl derivatives CoA and acyl-CoA
complementary DNA cDNA
confidence interval CI
coronary heart disease CHD
correlation coefficient r
counts/minute; counts/second cpm; cps
Cycle threshold Ct
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
epidermal growth factor EGF
estimated glomerular filtration rate eGFR
ethylene diamime tetra-acetic acid EDTA
ethylene glycol-O--bis(2-amino-ethyl)-N, N, N´,
-tetraacetic acid
European Association for the Study of Diabetes EASD Back to top
fetal bovine serumFBS
fetal calf serum FCS
flavin adenine dinucleotide FAD
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 tolerance test GTT
glucose transporter GLUT
glutamic acid decarboxylase GAD
gram g
cyclic guanosine 3´,5´-monophosphate cGMP
guanosine 5´-phosphate GMP
guanosine 5´-diphosphate GDP
guanosine 5´-triphosphate GTP Back to top
haematoxylin and eosin H&E
haemoglobin concentration Hb (g/l)
haemoglobin A1 HbA1
haemoglobin A1c HbA1c
half-life t½
hazard ratio HR (NB does not apply to hazard rate)
hertz Hz
high-density lipoprotein HDL
high-performance liquid chromatography HPLC
HOMA of insulin resistance HOMA-IR
homeostasis model assessment HOMA
hour h
human leucocyte antigen HLA
human umbilical vein endothelial cell HUVEC
4-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-piperazineethanesulphonic acid HEPES Back to top
immunoglobulins A, D, E, G, M IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG, IgM
intermediate density lipoprotein IDL
International Classification of Diseases (9th Revision) ICD-9
International Classification of Diseases (10th Revision) ICD-10
half maximal inhibitory concentration IC50
inner diameter i.d.
insulin-like growth factor IGF
insulin-receptor substrate IRS
insulin tolerance test ITT
interferon IFN
interleukin IL
intraperitoneal i.p.
intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test IPGTT
intravenous i.v.
intravenous glucose tolerance test IVGTT Back to top
joule J
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (not strictly an abbreviation any more, as the organisation has changed its name to 'JDRF') JDRF Back to top
kilobase kb
kilocalorie kcal
kilogram kg
Krebs-Ringer buffer KRB Back to top
median lethal dose LD50
lipoproteins (serum)  
    intermediate density IDL
    high density HDL
    low density LDL
    very low density VLDL
liquid chromatography LC
liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry LC-MS/MS
litre l (write in full if confusion with numeral 1 possible)
logarithm (base 10) log10
logarithm (base e) loge
low-density lipoprotein LDL Back to top
magnetic resonance imaging MRI
major histocompatibility complex MHC
mass spectrometry MS
maturity onset diabetes of the young MODY
maximal oxygen consumption O2max
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 oxidised,
NADH if reduced
nicotinamide-adenine dinucleotide phosphate NADP if oxidation state not indicated, NADP+ if oxidised,
NADPH if reduced
non-esterified fatty acid NEFA
non-obese diabetic mouse NOD mouse
not significant NS
nuclear factor κB NFκB
nuclear magnetic resonance NMR
number in a sample n Back to top
odds ratio OR
oral glucose tolerance test OGTT
osmolality express in osmol/kg or mosmol/kg
oxygen consumption O2 Back to top
parts per million ppm
pascal Pa
peak oxygen consumption O2peak
per cent %
phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase PEPCK
phosphate-buffered saline PBS
phosphorylated protein p-[protein abbreviation/name]
picogram pg
polymerase chain reaction PCR
pressure 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
quantitative insulin sensitivity index QUICKI
radioimmunoassay RIA
radioimmunoprecipitation assay buffer RIPA buffer
Randomised controlled trial RCT
rate constant k
relative risk or risk ratio; not rate ratio RR
respiratory quotient RQ
restriction fragment length polymorphism RFLP
reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction RT-PCR
revolutions rev
revolutions/minute rev/min (not rpm) (use g if appropriate)
ribonuclease RNase
ribonucleic acid RNA
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
single nucleotide polymorphism SNP
sodium dodecyl sulphate–polyacrylamide gel
species (plural) Spp.
species (singular) Sp.
specific activity sp. act.
standard deviation SD
standard error SE
standard error of the mean SEM
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 TNF 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
wingless/Int-1 Wnt
World Health Organization WHO Back to top

A-Z by abbreviation

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W

Σ sum Back to top
λ wavelength
χ2 chi-square
A ampère
ACE angiotensin-converting enzyme
ACTH adrenocorticotropic hormone
ADA American Diabetes Association
ADP adenosine 5´-diphosphate
AER albumin excretion rate
AGE advanced glycation end-product
AMP adenosine 5´-phosphate
ANOVA analysis of variance
APE atom per cent excess
ATP adenosine 5´-triphosphate
ATPase adenosine triphosphatase
AUC area under the curve Back to top
BMI body mass index
bp base pair
BP blood pressure (express in mmHg)
Bq becquerel
BrdU 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine
BSA bovine serum albumin Back to top
°C degrees, Celsius or centigrade
cDNA complementary DNA
CHD coronary heart disease
CI confidence interval
cm centimetre
CoA and acyl-CoA coenzyme A and its acyl derivatives
cpm; cps counts/minute; counts/second
CV coefficient of variation
cAMP cyclic adenosine 3´,5´- monophosphate
cGMP cyclic guanosine 3´,5´-monophosphate
Ct Cycle threshold
Back to top
DAPI 4´,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole
DCCT Diabetes Control and Complications Trial
df degrees of freedom
DMEM Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium
DMSO dimethylsulphoxide
DNA deoxyribonucleic acid
DNase deoxyribonuclease
dpm; dps disintegrations/minute; disintegrations/second
EASD European Association for the Study of Diabetes
ECG electrocardiogram
ED50 median effective dose
EDTA ethylene-diamime-N, N, N´, N´-tetraacetic acid
EEG electroencephalogram
EGF epidermal growth factor
eGFR estimated glomerular filtration rate
EGTA ethylene glycol-O--bis(2-amino-ethyl)-N, N, N´, N´
-tetraacetic acid
ELISA enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay Back to top
FACS fluorescence-activated cell sorter
FAD flavin adenine dinucleotide
FADH2 flavin adenine dinucleotide (reduced form)
FBSfetal bovine serum
FCS fetal calf serum
FITC fluorescein isothiocyanate Back to top
g gram
g acceleration of free fall
GAD glutamic acid decarboxylase
GC gas chromatography
GC-MS gas chromatography-mass spectrometry
GDP guanosine 5´-diphosphate
GFR glomerular filtration rate
GLUT glucose transporter
GMP guanosine 5´-phosphate
GTP guanosine 5´-triphosphate Back to top
h hour
H&E haematoxylin and eosin
Hb haemoglobin (g/l)
HbA1 haemoglobin A1
HbA1c haemoglobin A1c
HDL high-density lipoprotein
HEPES 4-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-piperazineethanesulphonic acid
HLA human leucocyte antigen
HOMA homeostasis model assessment
HOMA-IR HOMA of insulin resistance
HPLC high-performance liquid chromatography
HR hazard ratio
HUVEC human umbilical vein encothelial cell
Hz hertz: cycles/second (frequency) Back to top
IC50 half maximal inhibitory concentration
ICD-9 International Classification of Diseases (9th Revision)
ICD-10 International Classification of Diseases (10th Revision)
i.d. inner diameter
IFN interferon
IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG, IgM immunoglobulins A, D, E, G, M
IGF insulin-like growth factor
IL interleukin
i.p. intraperitoneal
IPGTT intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test
IRS insulin-receptor substrate
ITT insulin tolerance test
i.v. intravenous
IVGTT intravenous glucose tolerance test Back to top
J joule
JDRF Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (not strictly an abbreviation any more, as the organisation has changed its name to 'JDRF') Back to top
k fractional disappearance rate
k rate constant
kb kilobase
Kd dissociation constant
kg kilogram
kJ kilojoule
Km Michaelis constant
KRB Krebs-Ringer buffer Back to top
l litre (write in full if confusion with numeral 1 possible)
LC liquid chromatography
LC-MS/MS liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry
LD50 median lethal dose
LDL low-density lipoprotein
log10 logarithm (base 10)
loge logarithm (base e) Back to top
μm micrometre (micron): 10-6 m
μmol micromole
m metre
MHC major histocompatibility complex
min minute (60 seconds)
ml millilitre
mm millimetre
mmHg millimetre of mercury: for blood pressure (1 mmHg = 0.133 kPa)
mmol millimole
mmol/l millimolar (concentration) (not mΜ)
MODY maturity onset diabetes of the young
mol mole
mol. wt or Mr molecular weight (not daltons)
mol/l molar (concentration) (not Μ or mEq)
mosmol milliosmole
MRI magnetic resonance imaging
mRNA messenger ribonucleic acid
MS mass spectrometry
mU milliunit
mV millivolt Back to top
n number in a sample
NAD if oxidation state not indicated, NAD+ if oxidised,
NADH if reduced
nicotinamide-adenine dinucleotide
NADP if oxidation state not indicated,
NADP+ if oxidised, NADPH if reduced
nicotinamide-adenine dinucleotide phosphate
NEFA non-esterified fatty acid (free fatty acid is not used)
NFκB nuclear factor κB
ng nanogram
NMR nuclear magnetic resonance
NOD mouse non-obese diabetic mouse
NPH insulin neutral protamine Hagedorn insulin
NS not significant Back to top
OGTT oral glucose tolerance test
OR odds ratio
osmol/kg or mosmol/kg osmolality Back to top
p probability of an event being due to chance alone
Pa pascal (use for pressure, except blood pressure
and gas tensions: 1 kPa = 7.5 mmHg)
PBS phosphate-buffered saline
PCR polymerase chain reaction
PEPCK phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase
pg picogram
ppm parts per million Back to top
QUICKI quantitative insulin sensitivity index
r correlation coefficient
RCT Randomised controlled trial
rev revolutions
rev/min revolutions/minute (not rpm) (use g if appropriate)
RFLP restriction fragment length polymorphism
RIA radioimmunoassay
RIPA buffer radioimmunoprecipitation assay buffer
RNase ribonuclease
RPMI medium Roswell Park Memorial Institute medium
RQ respiratory quotient
RR relative risk
RT-PCR reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction Back to top
s second (time)
s.c. subcutaneously
SD standard deviation
SDS-PAGE sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis
SE standard error
SEM standard error of the mean
SNP single nucleotide polymorphism
Sp. species (singular)
Spp. species (plural)
sp. act. specific activity Back to top
t½ half-life
T3 triiodothyronine (3,3´,5-triiodothyronine)
T4 thyroxine (3,3´,5,5´-tetraiodothyronine)
TGF transforming growth factor
Tm transport rate (maximum)
TNF-α tumour necrosis factor-α
TRIS tris(hydroxymethyl)aminomethane
TUNEL terminal deoxynucleotidyl-transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labelling Back to top
U unit Back to top
V volt
VLDL very-low-density lipoprotein
Vmax maximum velocity
O2 oxygen consumption
O2max maximal oxygen consumption
O2peak peak oxygen consumption
vs versus Back to top
W watt
WHO World Health Organization
WHR waist-to-hip ratio
Wnt wingless/Int-1 Back to top