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Angiogenesis. 2005;8(2):157-67. Epub 2005 Oct 7.

Vascular biology in implantation and placentation.

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Department of Anatomy II, University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Aachen, Germany.


Pregnancy leads to dramatic changes of the vascular system of the mother and enables the development of a completely new vascular system within the growing embryo including the formation of the placenta as the exchange organ between both circulations. Besides a general adaptation of the maternal blood system, the uterine spiral arteries display the greatest changes. Within placental villi angiogenesis as well as vasculogenesis can be found already a few weeks after implantation. Both systems in parallel will determine the blood flow within the placental villi and the intervillous space. Finally, compromised blood flow on either side of the placental membrane will not only lead to fetal malnutrition, but will also trigger morphological changes of the villous trees. This review tries to cover all the above-mentioned topics and will try to depict the consequences of poor placentation on mother and fetus.

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