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Placenta. 2000 Nov;21(8):805-12.

The effect of ceruloplasmin on iron release from placental (BeWo) cells; evidence for an endogenous Cu oxidase.

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  • 1Rowett Research Institute, Aberdeen, AB21 9SB, UK.


The mechanism of iron release from the placenta into the fetal circulation is not well understood. Ceruloplasmin, a plasma ferroxidase, has been implicated in iron efflux from a variety of cell types. The hypothesis is that circulating ceruloplasmin facilitates iron efflux by oxidizing the released Fe(II) to Fe(III) for incorporation into transferrin. We tested whether this mechanism mediates iron release from placental cells into the fetal circulation, using the BeWo cell line, a choriocarcinoma which can differentiate into a syncytium.(59)Fe release from undifferentiated or differentiated cells and from cells grown on porous filters was not stimulated by extracellular ceruloplasmin. Instead, we found that BeWo cells express an endogenous ferroxidase. The protein is membrane bound and cross-reacts with an anti-ceruloplasmin antibody, but has a different size; 100 and 140 kDa. Similar immunoreactivity was identified in first- and third-trimester human placentae. In BeWo cells, the protein has a perinuclear localization but does not entirely co-localize with markers for the endoplasmic reticulum or Golgi apparatus. We propose that this oxidase performs the same function as serum ceruloplasmin and is involved in iron release into the fetal circulation.

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