Author(s): Kaufmann P, Bruns U, Leiser R, Luckhardt M, Winterhager E
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Abstract Vessel arrangement and vessel structure of the intermediate and terminal villi of 50 human normal term placentas have been studied by means of semithin histology, three-dimensional reconstruction of serial sections as well as scanning electron microscopy of vessel casts. The reliability of the methods applied has been checked by a morphometrical comparison of the luminal diameters obtained. The mature intermediate villi are characterized by the presence of 1 to 2 terminal arterioles as well as 1 to 2 postcapillary venules, and a few moderately coiled, mostly narrow capillaries, some of which belong to the so-called paravascular network. The remaining capillaries are continuous with the capillary loops of the terminal villi. The fetal vessels of the terminal villi are represented by capillary loops only, parts of which are sinusoidally dilated, reaching diameters up to 50 micrometers. Depending on the method, the mean vessel diameter of the terminal villi is 12.3 (vessel casts) or 14.5 micrometers (semithin sections). The capillaries of the terminal villi are arranged in such a way that 3 to 5 terminal villi are supplied by the same, multiply coiled capillary loop. The average capillary length of the paravascular net is 1,000 to 2,000 micrometers, that of the terminal villus capillary loops 3,000 to 5,000 micrometers. The extent of sinusoidal dilation rises with increasing capillary length, indicating that the main functional importance of the sinusoids is the reduction of blood flow resistance.
This article was published in Anat Embryol (Berl)
and referenced in Journal of Blood Disorders & Transfusion