The placental trophoblast is considered to act as a barrier between mother and fetus, mediating the exchange of various materials across the placenta. ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters such as P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and multidrug-resistance protein (MRP) are expressed in the placenta and function as efflux transport systems for xenobiotics. In the present study, we aimed to determine the localization of MRP1 in the human placenta in comparison with that of P-gp. Western blotting analysis with human placental membrane vesicles indicated that P-gp and MRP1 are localized on the brush-border membranes and basal membranes, respectively. Immunohistochemical analysis with human normal full-term placenta showed that anti-P-gp monoclonal antibody F4 stained the brush-border side of the trophoblast cells, whereas anti-MRP1 monoclonal antibody MRPr1 stained the basal side. These results confirm that P-gp and MRP1 are located on the brush-border membranes and basal membranes, respectively, of human full-term placental trophoblast. MRP1 was also detected on the abluminal side of blood vessels in the villi. Accordingly, MRP1 may play a role distinct from that of P-gp, which is considered to restrict the influx of xenobiotics into the fetus.
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