§The current address of Xilong Li is the Institute of Feed Research, The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, 100081 Beijing, China.
Academic Editors: Graham Pawelec and Brenda M. Alexander
Background: Fetal-placental development depends on a continuous and efficient supply of nutrients from maternal blood that are acquired by exchange through the placenta. However, the placenta is a low permeability barrier, and effective transport of substances depends on specific transport mechanisms. Active transport requires that ions or nutrients be moved against an electrical and/or concentration gradient. In pigs, active transport of ions occurs across the chorioallantois placenta to produce an electrochemical gradient that changes throughout gestation. The aim of this study was to utilize Ussing chambers to detect regulation of ion transport across the porcine chorioallantois by a factor(s) within the uterine-placental environment of pigs. Methods: For the measurement of transchorioallantoic voltage potential as an index of ion transport across the placenta, pieces of chorioallantoic tissue from Day 60 of gestation were mounted into the cassettes of Ussing chambers, and treatments were added to the mucasal side of the tissue. Treatments included: (1) media incubated with Day 60 chorioallantois (placenta-conditioned media); (2) osteopontin/secreted phosphoprotein 1 (OPN/SPP1) purified from cow’s milk; (3) placenta-conditioned media from which OPN/SPP1 was removed; and (4) recombinant rat OPN with an intact RGD integrin binding sequence or a mutated RAD sequence. Ouabain was added to both sides of the chamber. Immunofluorescence was utilized to localize beta 3 integrin, aquaporin 8 and OPN/SPP1 in porcine placental tissues, and OPN/SPP1 within porcine lung, kidney and small intestine. Results: Day 60 chorioallantoic membranes had greater transepithelial voltage in the presence of porcine placenta-conditioned media, indicating that a molecule(s) released from the placenta increased ion transport across the placenta. OPN/SPP1 purified from cow’s milk increased ion transport across the placenta. When OPN/SPP1 was removed from placenta-conditioned media, ion transport across the placenta did not increase. Recombinant rat OPN/SPP1 with a mutated RGD sequence that does not bind integrins (RAD) did not increase ion transport across the placenta. Ouabain, an inhibiter of the sodium-potassium ion pump, ablated ion transport across the placenta. Conclusions: The present study documents a novel pericellular matrix role for OPN/SPP1 to bind integrins and increase ion transport across the porcine chorioallantoic placenta.