Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Placenta: normal development and physiology

Contributor(s): Erin Williams , Bob Robinson

Royal Dick School Veterinary Studies logoUniversity of Nottingham logo

Introduction

  • After fertilization, three key events must occur before the embryo can implant in the uterus: 
    • Hatching of the blastocyst from the zona pellucida
    • Maternal recognition of pregnancy.
    • Formation of the extra-embryonic membranes.
  • The placenta is a complex tissue and not just a simple permeable membrane.
  • It’s primary functions are to regulate the transfer of nutrients and gases to the fetus as well as producing hormones to support fetal growth and development.
  • There are differences in placental function between species, which is not surprising given the different gross and histological structure seen in the placentae of different animals.

The formation of fetal membranes

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Different placental types

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Classification of placenta

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Key functions of the mammalian placenta

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Mechanisms of placental exchange

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The placenta as an endocrine organ

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Fetal oxygen supply

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The placenta's role in conferring passive immunity to the fetus

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

Other sources of information

  • Senger P L (2012) Pathways to Pregnancy and Parturition. 3rd edn. Current Conceptions Inc, USA.
  • McGeady T A, Quinn P J, Fitzpatrick E S & Ryan M T (2006) Veterinary Embryology. Blackwell Publising, UK.
  • Bowen R (2000) Transport Across the Placenta. In: Pathophysiology of the Reproductive System. Website: www.vivo.colostate.edu. Last accessed 7th March 2018.


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