The transplacental passage of thyroid hormones (THs) from mother to fetus in humans has been deduced from observational clinical studies and is important for normal fetoplacental development. To investigate the transporters that regulate TH uptake by syncytiotrophoblast (the primary barrier to maternal-fetal exchange, which lies in direct contact with maternal blood), we isolated the microvillous plasma membrane (MVM) of human term syncytiotrophoblasts. We have demonstrated that MVM vesicles express plasma membrane TH transporter proteins, including system-L (L-type amino acid transporter 1 and CD98), monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs) 8 and 10, organic anion-transporting polypeptides 1A2 and 4A1. We provide the first definitive evidence that the human syncytiotrophoblast MVM is capable of rapid, saturable T(4) and T(3) uptake at similar rates and in a Na(+)-independent manner. These two major forms of THs could not significantly inhibit each others' uptake, suggesting that each is mediated by largely different transporters. No single transporter was noted to play a dominant role in either T(4) or T(3) uptake. Using combinations of transporter inhibitors that had an additive effect on TH uptake, we provide evidence that 67% of saturable T(4) uptake is facilitated by system-L and MCT10 with a minor role played by organic anion-transporting polypeptides, whereas 87% of saturable T(3) uptake is mediated by MCT8 and MCT10. Our data demonstrate that syncytiotrophoblast may control the quantity and forms of THs taken up by the human placenta. Thus, syncytiotrophoblast could be critical in regulating transplacental TH supply from the mother to the fetus.