In vitro simulation of placental transport: Part I. Biological model of the placental barrier

R. Levkovitz, U. Zaretsky, Z. Gordon, A. J. Jaffa, D. Elad*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Introduction: The placental barrier (PB) is the thin biological membrane made of endothelial cells (EC), trophoblast cells (TC) and basal membrane that separates between maternal and fetal blood circulations within the placenta and facilitates feto-maternal transport characteristics, which are not completely understood. Methods: An in vitro biological model of the PB model was co-cultured of human TC (HTR8) and human umbilical vein EC (HUVEC) on both sides of a denuded amniotic membrane (AM) using custom designed wells. Results: Confocal and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) imaging confirmed the morphology expressions of human EC and TC. Further support on the integrity of the new PB model was obtained from the existence of tight junctions and permeability experiments with fluorescence markers of small and large molecules. The monolayer of EC demonstrated the limiting layer for the transport resistance across this complex barrier. Discussion and conclusion: This new in vitro viable model mimics the architecture of the human PB and can be used in in vitro simulations of transplacental transport studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)699-707
Number of pages9
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013


FundersFunder number
Gesellschaft der Freunde der Universität Tel Aviv in Österreich
Nicholas and Elizabeth Slezak Super Center for Cardiac Research and Biomedical Engineering


    • Amniotic membrane
    • Co-culture
    • Feto-maternal transport
    • Permeability coefficient
    • Tissue engineered placental barrier


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