Assessment of dually labelled PEGylated liposomes transplacental passage and placental penetration using a combination of twoex-vivohuman models: the dually perfused placenta and the suspended villous explants

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Uptake and passage of nanocarriers through the placenta are critical information to develop new therapeutic approaches during pregnancy. In order to assess nanocarriers transplacental passage and penetration into the placenta, we studied and optimized two ex-vivo human models: the dually perfused placenta and the placenta explants. Doubly labelled PEGylated liposomes were used as models to provide data on the penetration and transplacental passage of drugs and liposomes. A HPLC method was set-up to quantify both carboxyfluorescein and lipid-rhodamine. Transplacental passage was then quantified using HPLC and placental penetration was assessed using spinning disk microscopy. We found a similar transplacental passage rate for both free and encapsulated carboxyfluorescein as well as a homogeneous fluorescence intensity in the outer cell layer of the placental villous, the syncytiotrophoblast, and the mesenchyma. Besides, liposome-rhodamine was not detected in the fetal circulation. The absence of transplacental passage of PEGylated liposomes is also supported by their detection in the sole syncytiotrophoblast. The combination of two ex-vivo models and the monitoring of both the drug and the carrier provided consistent and complementary information. Overall, we suggest combining the perfused human placenta and the human explants villous models to evaluate nanocarriers designed for treatments during pregnancy.

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