Mechanisms regulating fetal transfer of olmesartan, an angiotensin-II receptor type 1 antagonist, are important as potential determinants of life-threatening adverse fetal effects. The purpose of this study was to examine the olmesartan transport mechanism through the basal plasma membrane (BM) of human syncytiotrophoblasts forming the placental barrier. Uptake of olmesartan by human placental BM vesicles was potently inhibited by dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), estrone 3-sulfate, and bromosulfophthalein, which are all typical substrates of organic anion transporter (OAT) 4 localized at the BM of syncytiotrophoblasts, and was increased in the absence of chloride. In tetracycline-inducible OAT4-expressing cells, [3H]olmesartan uptake was increased by tetracycline treatment. Olmesartan uptake via OAT4 was concentration dependent with a Km of 20 μM, and was increased in the absence of chloride. [3H]Olmesartan efflux via OAT4 was also observed and was trans-stimulated by extracellular chloride and DHEAS. Thus, OAT4 mediates bidirectional transport of olmesartan and appears to regulate fetal transfer of olmesartan at the BM of syncytiotrophoblasts. Efflux transport of olmesartan via OAT4 from syncytiotrophoblasts to the fetal circulation might be facilitated in the presence of an inwardly directed physiological chloride gradient and extracellular DHEAS.
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