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Placenta. 2004 May;25(5):438-48.

Vascular organization of the hystricomorph placenta: a comparative study in the agouti, capybara, guinea pig, paca and rock cavy.

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Department of Surgery, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.


The placental vasculature of five hystricomorph rodents was examined by latex injection of the blood vessels, immunohistochemistry and scanning electron microscopy of vessel casts. The pattern of branching of the vessels is described at the level of fine structure. The placenta is divided into lobes separated by interlobular trophoblast. Fetal arteries course through the interlobular areas and give rise to capillaries from which blood drains into veins at the centre of the lobes. Maternal blood reaches the placenta through spiral arteries that pass around the perimeter of the subplacenta. They supply large maternal blood sinuses, lined by trophoblast, which run through the interlobular areas and into the centre of the lobes. Here they supply fine channels that run parallel to the fetal capillaries, so that maternal blood flows from the centre of the lobe to the periphery. This arrangement provides the morphological basis for countercurrent exchange. The maternal channels of the labyrinth drain into spaces formed by the latticework of the interlobular trophoblast and thence through venous lacunae to a basal venous lacunar ring. The subplacenta is supplied by a single fetal artery. The vessels within the subplacenta pursue a tortuous course with dilatations and constrictions as in an endocrine gland.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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