Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology

Expression and localisation of breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) in human fetal membranes and decidua and the influence of labour at term

D. Yeboah A , G. M. Kalabis B , M. Sun A , R. C. Ou A , S. G. Matthews B D and W. Gibb A C

A Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ontario K1H8M5, Canada.

B Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S1A8, Canada.

C Ottawa Health Research Institute, Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario K1H8L6, Canada.

D Corresponding author. Email:

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 20(2) 328-334
Submitted: 12 August 2007  Accepted: 6 December 2007   Published: 24 January 2008


Breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) is a multidrug resistant ABC transport protein (ABCG-2). It extrudes a wide range of substrates, including many chemotherapy drugs, steroids and folate. It is present in many cancers, as well as normal tissues, in particular barrier tissues such as the blood–brain barrier, the intestine, blood vessels and the human placenta. Human fetal membranes (amnion and chorion laeve) provide the barrier between the maternal uterine environment and the fetus. In the present study, we defined the expression and localisation of BCRP mRNA and protein in human fetal membranes (amnion and chorion) and attached decidua obtained before and following labour at term. BCRP protein and mRNA was expressed in all tissues examined and the levels of expression were not altered by labour. BCRP was localised to the amnion epithelial cells, chorion trophoblast cells and decidua stromal cells, as well as the endothelial cells of maternal blood vessels in the decidua, but was absent from mesenchymal cells. In the amnion epithelium, BCRP protein was localised to the apical surface, cytoplasm and membrane between cells. In the chorion trophoblast and decidua stromal cells, BCRP protein was localised to the plasma membrane. However, in the chorion trophoblast, BCRP protein was also highly expressed in the nucleus. The level of BCRP protein in the membranes was comparable to that in the placenta. These high levels raise the possibility that this transporter plays an important role in the physiological function of the tissues.


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