Carbon monoxide disposition and permeability-surface area product in the foetal circulation of the perfused term human placenta

Placenta. 2003 Jan;24(1):8-11. doi: 10.1053/plac.2002.0877.


In order to estimate the placental barrier to gas transfer, a novel carbon monoxide (CO) wash-in method was used to estimate the permeability-surface area (PS) product for the transfer of gas across the foetal circulation in the perfused human term placenta. The PS product for CO was 0.0096+/-0.006 ml/s/g or 0.012+/-0.007 ml/s/g using compartmental or Crone-Renkin analysis, respectively. Using this result and a published estimate of the placental capillary surface area, the permeability coefficient to CO across the foetal circulation was found to be approximately 4 x 10(-5)cm/s. This result is compatible with the hypothesis that the foetal circulation of the human placenta imposes a potentially significant barrier to gas transfer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Capillary Permeability / physiology*
  • Carbon Monoxide / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Fetus / blood supply*
  • Humans
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange / physiology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Perfusion
  • Placenta / blood supply
  • Placenta / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy
  • Surface Properties


  • Carbon Monoxide