Nanoparticle transport across the placental barrier: Pushing the field forward

Carina Muoth, Leonie Aengenheister, Melanie Kucki, Peter Wick, Tina Buerki-Thurnherr*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

99 Citations (Scopus)


The human placenta is a multifunctional organ constituting the barrier between maternal and fetal tissues. Nanoparticles can cross the placental barrier, and there is increasing evidence that the extent of transfer is dependent on particle characteristics and functionalization. While translocated particles may pose risks to the growing fetus particles may also be engineered to enable new particle-based therapies in pregnancy. In both cases, a comprehensive understanding of nanoparticle uptake, accumulation and translocation is indispensable and requires predictive placental transfer models. We examine and evaluate the current literature to draw first conclusions on the possibility to steer translocation of nanoparticles. In addition, we discuss if current placental models are suitable for nanoparticle transfer studies and suggest strategies to improve their predictability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)941-957
Number of pages17
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • advanced in vitro models
  • nanoparticle translocation
  • placenta


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