Sodium transport across the chorioallantoic membrane of porcine placenta involves the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC)

K R Page, Cheryl Ashworth, Harry J McArdle, A. M Finch, Margaret O Nwagwu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The properties of chorioallantoic membrane derived from Large White Landrace sows at 45, 65 and 100 days gestation are examined. Under short circuit conditions positive charge flows from fetal to maternal sides of the tissue. Na+ is shown to be the sole charge carrier as the short circuit current is inhibited reversibly by fetal applications of amiloride and replacement of Na+ by choline in the Ringer solution, and irreversibly by both fetal and maternal applications of ouabain. The initial short circuit current is smaller at day 100 compared to days 45 and 65. The dose responses to amiloride indicate that the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) is involved in the movement of Na+ and that it is accessible on the fetal side of the tissue only. Immunostaining shows that the ENaC-alpha subunit is present in both the allantoic membrane and the trophoblast. Uptake studies using microvillous (apical) membrane vesicles suggest it is either inactive or only weakly active at this site. The trophoblast at day 100 has a higher content of ENaC than at days 45 and 65. This is the first report of the presence of ENaC in placental tissues. The effects of ouabain indicate the presence of a Na+ pump that is more readily inhibited by applications of the drug on the maternal aspect of the tissue than on the fetal side. Differential mechanisms may be present that would allow net movement of Na+ in either direction across the chorioallantoic membrane according to the changing demands of the developing fetus.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)849-57
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2003


  • Amiloride/pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport/drug effects
  • Biological Transport/physiology
  • Blotting, Western
  • Choline/pharmacokinetics
  • Chorion/metabolism
  • Diuretics/pharmacology
  • Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology
  • Epithelial Sodium Channels
  • Female
  • Microvilli/metabolism
  • Ouabain/pharmacology
  • Placenta/metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Sodium/pharmacokinetics
  • Sodium Channels/metabolism
  • Sus scrofa


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