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Journal of Pregnancy
Volume 2012, Article ID 972562, 6 pages
Review Article

Placental Amino Acids Transport in Intrauterine Growth Restriction

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, DMSD San Paolo Hospital Medical School, University of Milano, 20142 Milano, Italy

Received 15 March 2012; Accepted 19 April 2012

Academic Editor: Timothy Regnault

Copyright © 2012 Laura Avagliano et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The placenta represents a key organ for fetal growth as it acts as an interface between mother and fetus, regulating the fetal-maternal exchange of nutrients, gases, and waste products. During pregnancy, amino acids represent one of the major nutrients for fetal life, and both maternal and fetal concentrations are significantly different in pregnancies with intrauterine growth restriction when compared to uncomplicated pregnancies. The transport of amino acids across the placenta is a complex process that includes the influx of neutral, anionic, and cationic amino acids across the microvilluos plasma membrane of the syncytiotrophoblast, the passage through the cytoplasm of the trophoblasts, and the transfer outside the trophoblasts across the basal membrane into the fetal circulation. In this paper, we review the transport mechanisms of amino acids across the placenta in normal pregnancies and in pregnancies complicated by intrauterine growth restriction.