Homocysteine is transported by the microvillous plasma membrane of human placenta

Eleni Tsitsiou, Colin P. Sibley, Stephen W. D'Souza, Otilia Catanescu, Donald W. Jacobsen, Jocelyn D. Glazier

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Elevated maternal plasma concentrations of homocysteine (Hcy) are associated with pregnancy complications and adverse neonatal outcomes. The postulate that we wish to advance here is that placental transport of Hcy, by competing with endogenous amino acids for transporter activity, may account for some of the damaging impacts of Hcy on placental metabolism and function as well as fetal development. In this article, we provide an overview of some recent studies characterising the transport mechanisms for Hcy across the microvillous plasma membrane (MVM) of the syncytiotrophoblast, the transporting epithelium of human placenta. Three Hcy transport systems have been identified, systems L, A and y+L. This was accomplished using a strategy of competitive inhibition to investigate the effects of Hcy on the uptake of wellcharacterised radiolabelled substrates for each transport system into isolated MVM vesicles. The reverse experiments were also performed, examining the effects of model substrates on [35S]L-Hcy uptake. This article describes the evidence for systems L, A and y+L involvement in placental Hcy transport and discusses the physiological implications of these findings with respect to placental function and fetal development. © SSIEM and Springer 2010.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)57-65
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Inherited Metabolic Disease
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


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