The mechanisms and regulation of placental amino acid transport to the human foetus

J Neuroendocrinol. 2008 Apr;20(4):419-26. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2826.2008.01662.x. Epub 2008 Feb 8.


The mechanisms by which amino acids are transferred across the human placenta are fundamental to our understanding of foetal nutrition. Amino acid transfer across the human placenta is dependent on transport across both the microvillous and basal plasma membranes of the placental syncytiotrophoblast, and on metabolism within the syncytiotrophoblast. Although the principles underlying uptake of amino acids across the microvillous plasma membrane are well understood, the extent to which amino acids are metabolised within human placenta and the mechanisms by which amino acids are transported out of the placenta across the basal plasma membrane are not well understood. Understanding the mechanisms and regulation of amino acid transport is necessary to understand the causes of intrauterine growth restriction in human pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / metabolism*
  • Biological Transport
  • Female
  • Fetal Development / physiology
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / etiology
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / metabolism
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / physiopathology
  • Fetus / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange / physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Placenta / metabolism*
  • Placental Circulation / physiology
  • Pregnancy


  • Amino Acids