Presented at as an abstract at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine 37th Annual Pregnancy Meeting, Las Vegas, NV, Jan. 23–28, 2017
Sildenafil already is administered during gestation in patients with pulmonary hypertension and is under evaluation as a treatment for several pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction. Animal studies have shown a potential therapeutic effect of the drug in fetuses with congenital diaphragmatic hernia, rescuing peripheral pulmonary vasculature, and airway phenotype. When considering this drug for evaluation in a clinical trial, data on effective human placental drug passage are required.
We quantified transplacental passage of sildenafil in the ex vivo dually perfused cotyledon model.
Six placentas that were collected after term delivery from healthy volunteers were cannulated and perfused dually. Sildenafil citrate was added to the maternal circulation at 2 different concentrations: 500 ng/mL, which represented the maximum tolerated concentration (n=3), and 50 ng/mL, which represented the therapeutic concentration (n=3). Samples were collected from both the fetal and the maternal reservoir at 0, 6, 30, 60, 90, 120, 150, and 180 minutes; the concentrations of sildenafil and its metabolite desmethyl-sildenafil were determined with the use of high performance liquid chromatography. The fetal/maternal concentration ratio was calculated for each timepoint. Transfer clearance was calculated as the rate of maternal to fetal passage/maternal concentration.
Sildenafil crossed the placenta at both maximal and therapeutic concentrations. Maternal and fetal levels reached a plateau at 90–120 minutes. Transfer clearance was the highest during the first hour of perfusion: 3.15 mL/min (range, 2.14–3.19 mL/min) for the maximum tolerated concentration and 3.07mL/min (range, 2.75–3.42 mL/min) for the therapeutic concentration (not significant). The fetomaternal concentration ratio significantly increased over time, up to 0.91±0.16 for the maximal concentration and 0.95±0.22 for the therapeutic concentration at the end of the perfusion (not significant). Desmethyl-sildenafil was not detected in any sample.
Sildenafil crosses the term placenta at a relatively high rate ex vivo, which suggests that there is sufficient placental transfer to reach clinically active fetal drug levels at the currently used