Comparison of folic acid uptake characteristics by human placental choriocarcinoma cells at acidic and physiological pH.

Research paper by Elisa E Keating, Clara C Lemos, Isabel I Azevedo, Fátima F Martel

Indexed on: 12 Aug '06Published on: 12 Aug '06Published in: Canadian journal of physiology and pharmacology


The aim of this work was to characterize the placental uptake of folic acid from the maternal circulation. Using 2 human trophoblast cell lines (BeWo and JAR), we verified that uptake of 3H-folic acid was pH-dependent, increasing significantly with decreasing extracellular pH. In BeWo cells, uptake of 3H-folic acid at pH 5.5 was (i) Na+-independent; (ii) inhibited by folic acid, 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF), and methotrexate (MTX); (iii) inhibited by the anion transport inhibitors 4,4'-diisothiocyanatostilbene-2,2'-disulphonic acid (DIDS) and 4-acetamido-4'-isothiocyano-2,2'-disulfonic acid stilbene (SITS); (iv) inhibited by the proton ionophore carbonyl cyanide 4-(trifluoromethoxy)phenylhydrazone (FCCP); (v) not inhibited by blockers of receptor-mediated endocytosis (cytochalasin D and monensin); (vi) trans-inhibited by MTX and folic acid; and (vii) not affected by an anti-reduced folate transporter-1 (RFC) antibody. At pH 7.5, uptake of 3H-folic acid was (i) Na+-independent; (ii) inhibited by folic acid and MTX, but not by 5-MTHF; (iii) inhibited by SITS, but not by DIDS; (iv) not affected by FCCP; (v) inhibited by monensin (but not by cytochalasin D); (vi) trans-inhibited by folic acid (but not by MTX); and (vii) inhibited by an anti-RFC antibody. In conclusion, in BeWo cells, both RFC and receptor-mediated endocytosis seem to be involved in 3H-folic acid uptake at pH 7.5, whereas at pH 5.5, RFC and (or) a low pH-operating transporter distinct from RFC are involved.