To determine the placental clearance of lactate and bicarbonate in sheep, the fetal side of an isolated cotyledon and the umbilical circulation of the total placenta were artificially perfused. The release and uptake of lactate and bicarbonate by the perfusion fluid and the fetomaternal concentration differences of these substances were measured. From these data, the clearance of lactate and bicarbonate was determined to be 0.9 (SE = 0.2) ml/h/g of placental tissue. The production of lactate by the placenta was calculated to be about 30 µmol/min, the placental permeability of lactate was evaluated to be about 1.3 ml/h/g of placental tissue. These results indicate that fetal concentration changes of lactate and bicarbonate due to placental transfer occur with a half time of about 4 h. It is concluded that the lactate and bicarbonate permeability of the syndesmochorial placenta of the sheep is about 20 times smaller than the placental permeability of the hemochorial placenta of the guinea pig. It seems unjustified to draw any conclusions from experimental data obtained in the sheep placenta for the transplacental acid-base balance between mother and fetus in human beings.

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