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Differences in localization of insulin receptors and adenylate cyclase in the human placenta

  • Jeffrey A. Whitsett
    Correspondence
    Reprint requests: Dr. Jeffrey A. Whitsett, Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, 231 Bethesda Ave., Room 6103, Cincinnati, Ohio 45267.
    Affiliations
    Department of Pediatrics of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

    Department of Pharmacology and Cell Biophysics of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
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  • Carl L. Johnson
    Affiliations
    Department of Pediatrics of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

    Department of Pharmacology and Cell Biophysics of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
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  • Kim Hawkins
    Affiliations
    Department of Pediatrics of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

    Department of Pharmacology and Cell Biophysics of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
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      Abstract

      The interactions of hormones with plasma membranes in the human placenta were characterized for specific fetal and maternal components. The microvillus brush border membrane, which is exposed to maternal blood in the intervillous space, was markedly enriched in specific insulin receptors but contained no hormone-sensitive adenylate cyclase. On the other hand, a basal plasma membrane fraction, which is presumably exposed more directly to fetal hormones, contained adenylate cyclase which was sensitive to prostaglandins, epinephrine, and fluoride but was not enriched in insulin receptors or other brush border markers. This study demonstrates separate fetal and maternal aspects of placental-hormone interactions. This separation and the relative impermeability of the placenta to hormones may allow for independent maternal and fetal components of the interaction of hormones with the placenta.
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