Placental transporter localization and expression in the human: the importance of species, sex and gestational age differences

Walker, N., Filis, P., Soffientini, U., Bellingham, M. , O'Shaughnessy, P. J. and Fowler, P. A. (2017) Placental transporter localization and expression in the human: the importance of species, sex and gestational age differences. Biology of Reproduction, 96(4), pp. 733-742. (doi: 10.1093/biolre/iox012) (PMID:28339967)

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The placenta is a critical organ during pregnancy, essential for the provision of an optimal intrauterine environment, with fetal survival, growth and development relying on correct placental function. It must allow nutritional compounds and relevant hormones to pass into the fetal bloodstream and metabolic waste products to be cleared. It also acts as a semi-permeable barrier to potentially harmful chemicals both endogenous and exogenous. Transporter proteins allow for bidirectional transport and are found in the syncytiotrophoblast of the placenta and endothelium of fetal capillaries. The major transporter families in the human placenta are ABC and SLC and insufficiency of these transporters may lead to deleterious effects on the fetus. Transporter expression levels are gestation-dependent and this is of considerable clinical interest as levels of drug resistance may be altered from one trimester to the next. This highlights the importance of these transporters in mediating correct and timely transplacental passage of essential compounds but also for efflux of potentially toxic drugs and xenobiotics. We review the current literature on placental molecular transporters with respect to their localization and ontogeny, the influence of fetal sex and the relevance of animal models. We conclude that a paucity of information exists and further studies are required to unlock the enigma of this dynamic organ.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by the Medical Research Council, UK (MR/L010011/1 to PAF, PJOS) and a Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity Research Fund and University of Aberdeen, UK, Elphinstone Scholarship to NW.
Keywords:Placenta, human, ontogeny, placental transport.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bellingham, Dr Michelle and O'Shaughnessy, Professor Peter and Soffientini, Mr Ugo
Authors: Walker, N., Filis, P., Soffientini, U., Bellingham, M., O'Shaughnessy, P. J., and Fowler, P. A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Biology of Reproduction
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1529-7268
Published Online:07 March 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in Biology of Reproduction 96(4):733-742
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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