Reference > Anatomy of the Human Body > Page 63
Henry Gray (1825–1861).  Anatomy of the Human Body.  1918.
strata of ectodermal cells derived from the trophoblast: the deeper stratum, next the mesodermic tissue, represents the cytotrophoblast or layer of Langhans; the superficial, in contact with the maternal blood, the syncytiotrophoblast (Figs. 36 and 37). After the fifth month the two strata of cells are replaced by a single layer of somewhat flattened cells.

Maternal Portion.—The maternal portion of the placenta is formed by the decidua placentalis containing the intervillous space. As already explained, this space is produced by the enlargement and intercommunication of the spaces in the trophoblastic network. The changes involve the disappearance of the greater portion of the stratum compactum, but the deeper part of this layer persists and is condensed to form what is known as the basal plate. Between this plate and the uterine muscular fibres are the stratum spongiosum and the boundary layer; through these and the basal plate the uterine arteries and veins pass to and from the intervillous space. The endothelial lining of the uterine vessels ceases at the point where they terminate in the intervillous space which is lined by the syncytiotrophoblast. Portions of the stratum compactum persist and are condensed to form a series of septa, which extend from the basal plate through the thickness of the placenta and subdivide it into the lobules or cotyledons seen on the uterine surface of the detached placenta.

FIG. 38– Fetus in utero, between fifth and sixth months. (See enlarged image)

  The fetal and maternal blood currents traverse the placenta, the former passing through the bloodvessels of the placental villi and the latter through the intervillous space (Fig. 39). The two currents do not intermingle, being separated from each other by the delicate walls of the villi. Nevertheless, the fetal blood is able to absorb, through the walls of the villi, oxygen and nutritive materials from the


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