Drug transport across the placenta. Academic Article uri icon


  • It has become clear that almost any drug or chemical substance administered to the mother is able to cross the placenta to some extent, unless it is metabolized or altered during passage, or else its molecular size and low lipid solubility do not allow transplacental transfer. A number of transport systems have been identified in the placenta, which recognizes a wide variety of pharmacological active drugs as substrates. In recent years, research on human placental transporters has been developing due to the increase of knowledge technology in pharmacology. In this review we will focus on the main placental transporters which are known today. The P-glycoprotein (P-gp), Breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP/ABCG2) and Multidrug resistance associated protein 2 (MDR2) transporters are expressed at the apical surface of the syncytiotrophoblast, and have a protective effect. Transporters for 5-HT (SERT) and NE (NET) are also expressed at the apical surface and regulate extracellular concentrations of monoamines. The physiologic function of Multidrug resistance associated protein (MRP) transporters (which is expressed at the basal surface of the syncytiotrophoblast) may be the removal of metabolic end products from the fetus. Some of the members of the organic anion transporters are also expressed at the basolateral surface of the syncytiotrophoblast.

publication date

  • January 1, 2011