Denudations as paracellular routes for alphafetoprotein and creatinine across the human syncytiotrophoblast

P. Brownbill, D. Mahendran, D. Owen, P. Swanson, K. L. Thornburg, D. M. Nelson, C. P. Sibley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    60 Scopus citations


    We tested two hypotheses: 1) that fibrin-containing fibrinoid-filled denudations of the syncytiotrophoblast may provide a route for paracellular diffusion and 2) that placentas from women who had elevated maternal serum alphafetoprotein (MSAFP) in midgestation had raised permeability to AFP and greater denudation than in normal pregnancy. We measured AFP and creatinine clearance across term placental cotyledons from the above groups and used light microscope morphometric analysis to determine the volume density of fibrin-containing fibrinoid deposits. There was no significant difference between the two groups in terms of AFP and creatinine clearance or volume density of fibrin-containing fibrinold deposits. The combined data showed a significant (P < 0.05) positive correlation between creatinine clearance, but not AFP clearance, and volume density of fibrin-containing fibrinoid. We conclude that syncytiotrophoblast denudations, with associated fibrinoid, do provide a route for diffusion of small hydrophilic solutes, but that other anatomic features of the placenta are rate limiting for transfer of AFP and similarly sized molecules.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)R677-R683
    JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
    Issue number3 47-3
    StatePublished - Mar 2000


    • Fibrin-containing fibrinoid
    • Maternal serum alphafetoprotein
    • Placenta

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Physiology
    • Physiology (medical)


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