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There is evidence that nanoparticles (NP) cross epithelial and endothelial body barriers. We hypothesized that gold (Au) NP, once in the blood circulation of pregnant rats, will cross the placental barrier during pregnancy size-dependently and accumulate in the fetal organism by 1. transcellular transport across the hemochorial placenta, 2. transcellular transport across amniotic membranes 3. transport through ~20 nm wide transtrophoblastic channels in a size dependent manner. The three AuNP sizes used to test this hypothesis are either well below, or of similar size or well above the diameters of the transtrophoblastic channels.
Semmler-Behnke, M. et al. (2014) Size dependent translocation and fetal accumulation of gold nanoparticles from maternal blood in the rat. Particle and Fibre Toxicology 2014, 11:33 doi:10.1186/s12989-014-0033-9