Reference > Anatomy of the Human Body > Page 507
Henry Gray (1825–1861).  Anatomy of the Human Body.  1918.
anterior wall of the umbilical orifice are now continuous with the posterior ends of the anterior ventral aorta. With the formation of the tail-fold the posterior parts of the primitive aortæ are carried forward in a ventral direction to form the posterior ventral aortæ and primary caudal arches. 1 In the pericardial region the two primitive aortæ grow together, and fuse to form a single tubular heart (Fig. 460), the posterior end of which receives the two vitelline veins, while from its anterior end the two anterior ventral aortæ emerge. 2 The first cephalic arches pass through the mandibular arches, and behind them five additional pairs subsequently develop, so that altogether six pairs of aortic arches are formed; the fifth arches are very transitory vessels connecting the ventral aortæ with the dorsal ends of the sixth arches. By the rhythmical contraction of the tubular heart the blood is forced through the aortæ and bloodvessels of the vascular area, from which it is returned to the heart by the vitelline veins. This constitutes the vitelline circulation (Fig. 459), and by means of it nutriment is absorbed from the yolk (vitellus.)
  The vitelline veins at first open separately into the posterior end of the tubular heart, but after a time their terminal portions fuse to form a single vessel. The vitelline veins ultimately drain the blood from the digestive tube, and are modified to form the portal vein. This is caused by the growth of the liver, which interrupts their direct continuity with the heart; and the blood returned by them circulates through the liver before reaching the heart.

FIG. 458– Diagram of the vascular channels in a human embryo of the second week. (After Eternod.) The red lines are the dorsal aortæ continued into the umbilical arteries. The red dotted lines are the ventral aortæ, and the blue dotted lines the vitelline veins. (See enlarged image)

  With the atrophy of the yolk-sac the vitelline circulation diminishes and ultimately ceases, while an increasing amount of blood is carried through the umbilical arteries to the villi of the chorion. Subsequently, as the non-placental chorionic villi atrophy, their vessels disappear; and then the umbilical arteries convey the whole of their contents to the placenta, whence it is returned to the heart by the umbilical veins. In this manner the placental circulation is established, and by means of it nutritive materials are absorbed from, and waste products given up to the maternal blood.
  The umbilical veins, like the vitelline, undergo interruption in the developing liver, and the blood returned by them passes through this organ before reaching the heart. Ultimately the right umbilical vein shrivels up and disappears.
  During the occurrence of these changes great alterations take place in the primitive heart and bloodvessels.
Note 1.  Young and Robinson, Journal of Anatomy and Physiology, vol. xxxii. [back]
Note 2.  In most fishes and in the amphibia the heart originates as a single median tube. [back]


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