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Int J Pharm. 2000 Feb 15;195(1-2):115-24.

Carrier-mediated transport of valproic acid in BeWo cells, a human trophoblast cell line.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66047, USA.


The biochemical mechanisms mediating the rapid distribution of valproic acid across placenta are not precisely known. We have characterized valproic acid transport by the human trophoblast using the human choriocarcinoma cell line, BeWo. The uptake of [14C]valproic acid by BeWo cells was found to be saturable and blocked by pre-exposure to the metabolic inhibitors, sodium azide and 2,4-dinitrophenol. Valproic acid uptake by the BeWo cells was also inhibited by the protonophore, carbonylcyanide p-trifluoromethoxyphenylhydrazone, but not anion exchange inhibitor. Selected monocarboxylic acids inhibited the uptake of [14C]valproic acid by BeWo cells, whereas dicarboxylic acids did not alter the uptake process. Analysis of Lineweaver-Burk plots of valproic acid uptake in the presence of benzoic acid, a marker for the monocarboxylic acid transporter, revealed a competitive process for uptake. In transcellular transport experiments, the permeation of [14C]valproic acid from the apical-to-basal side of the monolayers was significantly greater than the permeation from basal-to-apical side. Additionally, the permeation of [14C]valproic acid from apical-to-basal side was inhibited by monocarboxylic acids and not dicarboxylic acids. The results provide biochemical evidence of a proton-dependent, saturable, and asymmetric transport system, presumed to be a monocarboxylic acid transporter, for valproic acid in a human trophoblast model.

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