The objective was to understand how two forms of folate-binding protein interact to accomplish folate transport during pregnancy in swine. Specific folate binding was measured in uterine flushings during the estrous cycle and early pregnancy and in allantoic fluid (secreted form) and placental membranes (membrane form) throughout later pregnancy. In addition, the localization of the secreted form of folate-binding protein (sFBP) in uterine wall sections was assessed. Uterine flushings were collected on Days 10, 13, and 15 of the estrous cycle and pregnancy. Allantoic fluid and placentas were collected on Days 20, 35, 50, 70, 90, and 105 of pregnancy. Uterine-wall sections were collected on all days of the experiment. Folate binding was measured by incubation of aliquots of uterine flushings, allantoic fluid, or placental microsomal membranes with 0.5–4 nM [3H]folate. Uterine-wall sections were incubated with purified anti-FBP IgG or normal rabbit serum IgG to localize sFBP. Folate binding did not differ between early pregnancy and the estrous cycle in uterine flushings, was greatest from Day 50 to 70 of pregnancy in allantoic fluid, and was greatest from Day 50 of pregnancy onward in placental microsomal membranes. Staining for sFBP was present in the endometrial glands from Day 10 to 15 in cyclic gilts and from Day 10 to 20 in pregnant gilts. The pattern of folate binding and sFBP staining supports the concept that sFBP transports folate to the developing conceptus until placentation and then the placental form takes over folate transport.
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