Bile acid transport by basal membrane vesicles of human term placental trophoblast

Gastroenterology. 1990 Nov;99(5):1431-8. doi: 10.1016/0016-5085(90)91172-3.


The aim of this work was to investigate the first step in the vectorial translocation of bile acids from the fetus to the mother, which is the transfer across the basal (i.e., fetal-facing) plasma membrane of the trophoblast. Thus, the uptake of [14C]taurocholate by basal plasma membrane vesicles obtained from normal human term placentas was studied. Taurocholate retention into vesicles was studied using a rapid filtration technique that was modified to reduce the taurocholate binding to the filters and to the external surface of the vesicles. Using 100 mumol/L substrate, the membrane vesicles showed a temperature-dependent, Na(+)-independent transport of taurocholate into an osmotically reactive intravesicular space. The initial rate of taurocholate influx in the presence of 100 mmol/L KNO3 followed saturation kinetics (apparent Km for taurocholate = 670 +/- 128 mumol/L; Vmax = 1.86 +/- 0.28 nmol/mg protein.60 s at 37 degrees C). Over the 6.9-7.9 pH range neither internal nor external pH nor inward nor outward proton gradients affected the uptake of taurocholate. When the electrical potential difference across the basal membrane was manipulated by external anion replacement (Cl-, SCN-, SO4(2-), or NO3-) or by valinomycin-induced K(+)-diffusion potential (vesicle inside negative), taurocholate uptake was not significantly modified. Taurocholate uptake was cis-inhibited in the presence of 1 mmol/L glycocholate, 0.5 mmol/L 4,4'-diisothiocyanostilbene-2,2'-disulfonate and 0.5 mmol/L sulfobromophthalein. However, 1 mmol/L probenecid or 0.5 mmol/L p-aminohippurate had no effect. Moreover, preloading the vesicles with 100 mmol/L HCO3- (but not with 100 mmol/L Cl- or 50 mmol/L SO4(2-) induced a significant enhancement in the initial rate of taurocholate uptake. In summary, these findings provide strong evidence for the presence of an electroneutral transport system for taurocholate in the basal plasma membrane of human chorionic trophoblast. They also suggest that this is likely to be an anion-exchange system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Basement Membrane / metabolism
  • Bile Acids and Salts / metabolism*
  • Biological Transport, Active / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Pregnancy
  • Taurocholic Acid / pharmacokinetics*
  • Temperature
  • Time Factors
  • Trophoblasts / metabolism*


  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Taurocholic Acid