P-glycoprotein: a new player in the placental glucocorticoid barrier [ 2006 - 2008 ]

Also known as: The role of the placental glucocorticoid barrier in preventing fetal growth retardation

Research Grant

[Cite as]

Researchers: Prof Brendan Waddell (Principal investigator) ,  Prof Arunasalam Dharmarajan

Brief description Adequate growth and development of the fetus are crucial for survival of the newborn. The placenta plays a central role in these processes, providing the fetus with appropriate nutrients and hormonal signals. The placenta also regulates the maternal-fetal passage of hormones, some of which have the capacity to limit fetal growth. These include glucocorticoid hormones from the mother's adrenal gland (eg cortisol) which are normally prevented from passing through the placenta to the fetus due to the 'placental glucocorticoid barrier'. The primary focus of this proposal is the investigation of a potential new contributor to this barrier called P-glycoprotein (P-gp), recently shown to limit access of glucocorticoids to the brain. We propose that because the placenta expresses significant amounts of P-gp, it may help prevent maternal glucocorticoids from reaching the fetus and causing growth retardation. We will determine whether P-gp is a significant contributor to the placental glucocorticoid barrier, and measure how much P-gp is present in normal placentas throughout pregnancy. We will also assess whether there is less P-gp present in placentas of growth-retarded fetuses. Understanding how P-gp affects the passage of glucocorticoids across the placenta could help to treat certain cases of fetal growth retardation.

Funding Amount $AUD 424,711.57

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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