Functional role and regulation of permeability-glycoprotein (P-gp) in the fetal membrane during drug transportation

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Objective: Na+/H+ exchange regulatory factor-1 (NHERF-1) is a class I PDZ (PSD95/Discs-large/ZO-1) binding protein involved in cell-surface expression and stabilization of transporter proteins, including permeability-glycoprotein (P-gp) in various cell types. P-gp, expressed in placental trophoblasts, is an efflux transporter protein that influences the pharmacokinetics of various drugs used during pregnancy. Previously we have reported that NHERF-1 regulates fetal membrane inflammation. However, the role of NHERF-1 in regulating P-gp in the fetal membrane during drug transportation remains unclear. This study determined the interplay between NHERF-1 and P-gp in human fetal membrane cells. Methods: Fetal membranes from normal, term cesareans were screened for P-gp by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Chorionic trophoblast (CTC), with the highest expression of P-gp among fetal membrane cells, was further used to test interactive properties between NHERF-1 and P-gp. BeWo (placental trophoblast cell line) cells were used as a control. Immunoprecipitation (IP) of CTC lysates using the P-gp antibody followed by western blot determined co-precipitation of NHERF-1. Silencing NHERF-1 using small interfering RNA further tested the relevance of NHERF-1 in P-gp expression and function in CTC and BeWo cells. NHERF-1 regulation of P-gp's efflux function (drug resistance) was further tested using the ENZOTM efflux dye kit. Results: Immunohistochemistry localized, and western blot confirmed P-gp in human fetal membranes, primarily in the CTC with limited expression in the amnion epithelial layer. P-gp expression in the membranes was similar to that seen in the placenta. IP data showed P-gp co-precipitating with NHERF1. Silencing of NHERF-1 resulted in significant drug resistance suggesting P-gp function mediated through NHERF1 in CTCs. Conclusion: Proinflammatory mediator NHERF-1 regulates P-gp and control drug transportation across the fetal membranes. Our data suggest a novel functional role for fetal membranes during pregnancy. Besides the placenta, fetal membranes may also regulate efflux of materials at the feto-maternal interface and control drug transport during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13515
JournalAmerican Journal of Reproductive Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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