, Volume 195, Issue 6, pp 483-490

Retinoid binding proteins in mouse yolk sac and chorio-allantoic placentas

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 In the adult, as well as in the embryo, a number of specific extra- and intracellular binding proteins such as the plasma retinol binding protein (RBP), the cellular retinol binding protein type I (CRBP I), and also the cellular receptors for RBP are thought to regulate transport and metabolism of retinol (vitamin A). Since the regulation of materno-fetal transport of vitamin A is not well understood, we examined the localization of these proteins during the development of the mouse chorio-allantoic and yolk sac placentas. The labyrinthine region of the chorio-allantoic placenta, where exchange of substances can occur between the maternal and fetal circulations, did not contain RBP (mRNA or protein) or antigen(s) similar to the bovine RBP-receptor p63, whereas the visceral endoderm of the yolk sac placenta, the second site for materno-fetal transport, did. Furthermore, only the endodermal cells of the visceral yolk sac appeared to strongly accumulate radiolabelled retinoids. The cellular retinol binding protein (CRBP I) was detected both in the trophoblast layer of the placental labyrinth closest to the fetal endothelium (layer III), and in the visceral endoderm of the yolk sac. Together, these findings suggest that the yolk sac placenta mediates retinol transfer to the embryo/fetus throughout the entire gestation. The chorio-allantoic placenta, on the other hand, does not appear to have this capacity, while the presence of CRBP I does suggest a retinol-metabolizing capability.

Accepted: 5 February 1997