Hypoxia regulates the expression of fatty acid-binding proteins in primary term human trophoblasts

Tal Biron-Shental, W. Timothy Schaiff, Christine K. Ratajczak, Ibrahim Bildirici, D. Michael Nelson, Yoel Sadovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Objective: Fatty acids (FAs) are essential for fetal development. Cellular FA uptake is modulated by fatty acid-binding proteins (FABPs). We hypothesized that hypoxia regulates the expression of FABPs in human trophoblasts. Study Design: Primary term human trophoblasts were cultured for 72 hours in either standard (O2 = 20%) or hypoxic (O2 < 1%) conditions. FABP expression was interrogated using polymerase chain reaction and Western immunoblotting. Trophoblast lipid droplets were examined using dipyrromethene boron difluoride 493/503 staining. Results: We detected the expression of FABP1, -3, -4, -5, and pm but not FABP2 or FABP6-9 subtypes in trophoblasts. Exposure to hypoxia markedly increased lipid droplet accumulation in trophoblasts. Consistent with this observation, hypoxia enhanced the expression of FABP1, -3, and -4. Lastly, agonists of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ enhanced the expression of FABP1 and -4 in trophoblasts. Conclusion: Hypoxia enhances the expression of FABP1, -3, and -4 in term human trophoblasts, suggesting that FABPs support fat accumulation in the hypoxic placenta.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516.e1-516.e6
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • fatty acid-binding protein
  • hypoxia
  • lipid droplets
  • peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ
  • trophoblasts


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