Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Chemistry and Pharmacology
Abstract Placental transferrin receptors, located at the apical side of syncytiotrophoblast, mediate placental iron uptake. Regulation of transferrin receptors on the fetal-maternal exchange area could be a major determinant in the regulation of trans-placental iron transport. Transferrin receptor expression in cultured human term cytotrophoblasts is on a much lower level than in choriocarcinoma cells, with a higher proportion of receptors located on the cell surface. Differentiation of cells, either due to longer culture periods or to 8-bromo-cAMP treatment does not lead to an increase of transferrin receptor expression. In vitro, the level of expression is largely regulated by the cellular density in the culture dishes. Low cellular occupancy of the dish leads to a high level of transferrin receptors. Treatment with iron-sources results in a down regulation of transferrin receptors. Thus, though the level of transferrin receptors in cultured normal trophoblast is at a constant level, unaffected by differentiation, high levels of maternal transferrin-iron availability can lead to a decrease in placental iron uptake. This feed-back mechanism makes placental iron uptake independent of maternal iron stores.
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