The role of various transporters in the placental uptake of ofloxacin in an in vitro model of human villous trophoblasts

Hana Polachek, Nir Debotton, Valeria Feinshtein, Mazal Rubin, Zvi Ben-Zvi, Gershon Holcberg, Riad Agbaria, Arik Dahan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Introduction: Six years after the US Food and Drug Administration approval of the broad-spectrum antibiotic ofloxacin (OFLX), the chiral switching of this racemic mixture resulted in a drug composed of the l-optical isomer levofloxacin (LVFX). Since both fluoroquinolones (FQs) were introduced to the pharmaceutical market, they have been widely prescribed by physicians, with careful administration during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Therefore, the role of the influx and efflux placental transporters in the concentrations of these drugs that permeate through human placental barrier model was investigated in this study. Methods: The contribution of major carriers on the transplacental flux of OFLX and LVFX uptake into choriocarcinoma BeWo cells was evaluated in the presence vs absence of well-known inhibitors. Results: Our results reveal that neither the influx transporters such as organic cation transporters, organic anion transporters, and monocarboxylate transporters nor the efflux transporters such as P-glycoprotein or breast cancer resistance protein significantly affected the transport of OFLX. In contrast, multiple transporters revealed pronounced involvement in the transfer of the levorotatory enantiomer in and out of the in vitro placental barrier. These data suggest a non-carrier-mediated mechanism of transport of the racemic mixture, while LVFX is subjected to major influx and efflux passage through the placental brush border membranes. Conclusion: This study provides underlying insights to elucidate the governing factors that influence the flux of these FQs through organ barriers, in view of the controversial safety profile of these drugs in pregnant population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4129-4138
Number of pages10
JournalDrug Design, Development and Therapy
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Drug transport
  • Fluoroquinolones
  • Levofloxacin
  • Ofloxacin
  • Placenta
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery


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