Maternal-fetal transfer of saquinavir studied in the ex vivo placental perfusion model

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2001 Jul;185(1):178-81. doi: 10.1067/mob.2001.113319.


Objective: This study was undertaken to determine the placental transfer of the human immunodeficiency virus protease inhibitor saquinavir.

Study design: An ex vivo perfused human placental cotyledon model was used. Ten placental perfusion studies were performed, with concentrations of saquinavir in the maternal compartment ranging from 322 to 2197 ng/mL (within reference therapeutic ranges). Drug concentrations were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography.

Results: The mean (+/- SD) fetal transfer rate of saquinavir was 1.8% +/- 1.6%, and the mean (+/- SD) clearance index was 0.05 +/- 0.05. A mean (+/- SD) of 1.6% +/- 3.1% of the perfused saquinavir was retained by the cotyledon. The small amount of saquinavir that crossed the placenta corresponded to the fraction not bound to human serum albumin.

Conclusion: The low rate of placental transfer of saquinavir suggests that use of this antiretroviral drug by pregnant women may not lead to significant exposure of the fetus.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Kinetics
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange*
  • Placenta / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy
  • Saquinavir / metabolism*


  • HIV Protease Inhibitors
  • Saquinavir