The placenta represents a non-neuronal organ capable of transporting and metabolizing monoamines. Since these bioactive molecules participate in numerous processes essential for placental and fetal physiology, any imbalance in their levels during pregnancy may affect brain development, projecting a higher risk of behavioral disorders in childhood or adulthood. Notably, the monoamine system in the placenta is a target of various psychoactive drugs and can be disrupted in several pregnancy pathologies. As research in pregnant women poses significant ethical restrictions, animal models are widely employed to study monoamine homeostasis as a mechanism involved in fetal programming. However, detailed knowledge of monoamine transport in the rat placenta is still lacking. Moreover, relatability to the human placental monoamine system is not examined. The present study provides insights into the transplacental monoamine dynamics between maternal and fetal circulation. We show that norepinephrine maternal-to-fetal transport is <4% due to high metabolism within the trophoblast. In contrast, dopamine maternal-to-fetal transport exceeds 25%, likely through passive transport across the membrane. In addition, we show high clearance of norepinephrine and dopamine from the fetal circulation mediated by the organic cation transporter 3 (OCT3). Altogether, we present transcriptional and functional evidence that the in situ rat placenta perfusion represents a suitable model for (patho)physiological investigation of dopamine and norepinephrine homeostasis in the fetoplacental unit. With the rapid advancements in drug discovery and environmental toxicity, the use of rat placenta as a preclinical model could facilitate screening of possible xenobiotic effects on monoamine homeostasis in the placenta.

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