Prominent expression of xenobiotic efflux transporters in mouse extraembryonic fetal membranes compared with placenta

Lauren M. Aleksunes, Yue Cui, Curtis D. Klaassen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Fetal exposure to xenobiotics can be restricted by transporters at the interface between maternal and fetal circulation. Previous work identified transporters in the placenta; however, less is known about the presence of these transporters in the fetal membranes (i.e., yolk sac and amniotic membranes). The purpose of this study was to quantify mRNA and protein expression of xenobiotic transporters in mouse placenta and fetal membranes during mid to late gestation. Concepti (placenta and fetal membranes, gestation day 11) or placenta and fetal membranes (gestation days 14 and 17) were collected from pregnant mice and analyzed for expression of multidrug resistance-associated proteins (Mrps), multidrug resistance proteins (Mdrs), multidrug and toxin extrusion proteins (Mates), breast cancer resistance protein (Bcrp), and organic anion-transporting polypeptides (Oatps). Maternal liver and kidneys were also collected at day 14 for mRNA and immunohistochemical analysis. mRNA expression of Mrp, Mdr, Bcrp, Mate-1, and Oatp isoforms was detected at day 11. The uptake carriers Oatp2a1, 3a1, 4a1, and 5a1 showed placenta-predominant expression. At days 14 and 17, fetal membranes expressed higher mRNA levels of the efflux transporters Mrp2 (7-fold), Mrp4 (5-fold), Mrp5 (3-fold), Mrp6 (12-fold), Bcrp (2-fold), and Mate-1 (7-fold) than placenta. Western blot analysis of Mrp2, Mrp4, Mrp6, and Bcrp confirmed higher expression in fetal membranes. Immunostaining revealed apical (Mrp2 and Bcrp) and basolateral (Mrp4, 5, and 6) cellular localization in epithelial cells of the yolk sac. In conclusion, xenobiotic transporters in the fetal membranes may provide an additional route to protect the fetus against endogenous chemicals and xenobiotics.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1960-1970
Number of pages11
JournalDrug Metabolism and Disposition
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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