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Pflugers Arch. 1994 May;427(1-2):157-61.

Lack of transport of erythropoietin across the human placenta as studied by an in vitro perfusion system.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Berne, Switzerland.


The transfer of human recombinant erythropoietin (rhEPO) from the maternal to the fetal side was investigated using the technique of in vitro perfusion of an isolated cotyledon of human placenta, with recirculation of the perfusate (130 ml) in separate closed maternal and fetal circuits. rhEPO (221-512 U), together with [14C]BSA (bovine serum albumin, 44.8 kBq or 2,688,000 dpm), was added to the maternal circuit only. Despite a considerably lower molecular weight of EPO (mol. wt. = 30,400 Da) compared to BSA (mol. wt. = 69,000 Da), no difference was found in their transfer across the placenta from the maternal to the fetal side, which was very low for both macromolecules. The total transfer of rhEPO derived from the concentration measured in the samples taken from the fetal circuit at the end of 4-5 h of perfusion, was in the range of 0.04% of the amount initially added to the maternal compartment. A similar amount of transfer was determined for [14C]BSA (0.04-0.07%, n = 12). In conclusion, by direct determination in a dually in vitro perfused human placental cotyledon, no significant transfer of rhEPO from the maternal to the fetal side could be shown.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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