Trophoblast Invasion and Placentation in the Human: Morphological Aspects

  • Robert Pijnenborg
Part of the Trophoblast Research book series (TR, volume 4)


The evolution of viviparity in mammals has been possible because of the development of placentation, which means the apposition of two vascular systems, maternal and fetal to allow physiological exchanges between the two (Mossman, 1937). That trophoblast invasion is a key phenomenon in this regard has been recognized for many years (Grosser, 1927). The ultimate expression of this evolutionary tendency is found in species with hemochorial placentation which include the human being. It is obvious, however, that the invasive process needs to be restricted or modulated in order to allow a gradual succession of the different developemental steps. Different uterine tissue components need to be penetrated successively i.e., the uterine epithelium (during blastocyst implantation), endometrial stroma and vessels walls in order to reach the hemochorial condition (Pijnenborg et al., 1985). It may well be that for each step specialized trophoblastic cells have to be developed.


Trophoblastic Cell Trophoblast Invasion Spiral Artery Uterine Epithelium Cytotrophoblastic Cell 
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Copyright information

© University of Rochester 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Pijnenborg
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyKatholieke UniversiteitLeuvenBelgium

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