Syncytiotrophoblasts play an essential role in restriction of drug delivery through the blood-placenta barrier (BPB). Conditionally immortalized syncytiotrophoblast cell lines, TR-TBTs, were established at gestational day 18 from pregnant transgenic rats (Tg-rats) harboring the temperature-sensitive SV 40 (ts SV40) large T-antigen. TR-TBTs exhibit temperature-sensitive cell growth due to the expression of SV 40 large T-antigen, and thus the cell growth can be regulated by changing the culture temperature. TR-TBTs exhibit typical properties of syncytiotrophoblast cells, such as syncytium-like morphology, the expression of cytokeratins and hormones, and polarized expression of glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1) and GLUT3. TR-TBTs express in vivo influx and efflux transporters, such as taurine transporter (TauT), betaine/GABA transporter (BGT-1), amino acid transporter 2 (ATA2), organic anion transporting polypeptide 2 (oatp2), organic cation/carnitine transporter (OCTN2), P-glycoprotein (P-gp), and breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP/ABCG2). Moreover, TR-TBTs exhibit taurine, GABA, and DHEA-S uptake activity via TauT, BGT-1, and oatp2, respectively. Therefore, TR-TBTs can be used for the analysis of these functions and would be a good in vitro models for investigating carrier-mediated transport functions at the BPB.
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