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Hum Pathol. 1976 Nov;7(6):675-91.

The human yolk sac and yolk sac carcinoma. An ultrastructural study.


The ultrastructure of the yolk sac of a 39 day old human embryo was studied. The subcellular organization was suggestive of a highly specialized absorptive function proceeding in an exocelomic-viteline direction. These findings, compatible with intense metabolic activity, are at variance with the concept of rapid involution of the yolk sac following completion of its hemopoietic and angiogenetic functions. The speculation is advanced that a potential avenue exists in the yolk sac whereby maternally derived products encounter fetal endoderm. Ultrastructural features in the normal yolk sac were compared to those existing in a tumor showing the "endodermal sinus" pattern, and reviewed in the light of the pertinent literature. These findings support the concept that attributes an endomesoblastic derivation to such neoplasms.

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