Development of the Blastocyst: Role of Cell Polarity in Cavitation and Cell Differentiation

  • Lynn M. Wiley


Blastocyst formation entails two interrelated events: 1) cavitation, whereby the embryo develops a blastocoele, and 2) differentiation of the first two cell types to appear in the mammalian embryo, i. e., trophectoderm and inner cell mass (ICM). The trophectoderm, which forms the wall of the blastocoele, is the only tissue that can implant the embryo in the uterus and protect the fetus against maternal immunological rejection. The ICM, which is a cluster of 3 to 10 cells that adheres to the luminal surface of the trophectoderm, is the sole cellular source of the entire embryo (Gardner, 1975; Gardner and Rossant, 1976). The blastocoele is thought to be essential for the normal development and function of the trophectoderm and ICM, since there has never been a recorded case of both these two cell types developing in the absence of cavitation.


Inner Cell Mass Field Axis Mammalian Embryo Basolateral Plasma Membrane Cavitation Model 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lynn M. Wiley
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Reproductive Biology and Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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