Implantation of the Blastocyst and Formation of the Placenta

If fertilization does not take place, the corpus luteum begins to decrease its secretion of steroids about 10 days after ovulation. This withdrawal of steroids, as previously described, causes necrosis and sloughing of the endometrium following day 28 of the cycle. If fertilization and implantation have occurred, however, these events must obviously be prevented to maintain the pregnancy.

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Placenta

■ Figure 20.46 The secretion of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This hormone is secreted by trophoblast cells during the first trimester of pregnancy, and it maintains the mother's corpus luteum for the first 5>2 weeks. After that time, the placenta becomes the major sex-hormone-producing gland, secreting increasing amounts of estrogen and progesterone throughout pregnancy.

Chorionic Gonadotropin

The blastocyst saves itself from being eliminated with the endometrium by secreting a hormone that indirectly prevents menstruation. Even before the sixth day when implantation occurs, the trophoblast cells of the chorion secrete chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG (the h stands for "human"). This hormone is identical to LH in its effects and therefore is able to maintain the corpus luteum past the time when it would otherwise regress. The secretion of estradiol and progesterone is thus maintained and menstruation is normally prevented.

IK All pregnancy tests assay for the presence of hCG in blood or urine because this hormone is secreted by ^ \ ^ the blastocyst but not by the mother's endocrine glands. Modern pregnancy tests detect the beta subunit of hCG, which is unique to hCG and provides the least amount of cross-reaction with other hormones. Accurate and sensitive immunoassays for hCG in pregnancy tests employ antibodies that are produced by a clone of lymphocytes—termed monoclonal antibodies (chapter 15)—against the specific beta subunit of hCG. Home pregnancy kits that use these antibodies are generally accurate in the week following the first missed menstrual period.

The secretion of hCG declines by the tenth week of pregnancy (fig. 20.46). Actually, this hormone is required for only the first 5 to 6 weeks of pregnancy because the placenta itself becomes an active steroid hormone-secreting gland. By the fifth to sixth week, the mother's corpus luteum begins to regress (even in the presence of hCG), but by this time the placenta is secreting more than sufficient amounts of steroids to maintain the endometrium and prevent menstruation.

Clinical Investigation Clues

Remember that Gloria's pregnancy test was negative.

■ What did they specifically test for?

■ If the test came out positive, what physiological mechanism would account for her amenorrhea?

Chorionic Membranes

Between days 7 and 12, as the blastocyst becomes completely embedded in the endometrium, the chorion becomes a two-cell-thick structure that consists of an inner cytotrophoblast layer and an outer syncytiotrophoblast layer (see fig. 20.45b). Meanwhile, the inner cell mass (which will become the fetus) also develops two cell layers. These are the ectoderm (which will form the nervous system and skin) and the endoderm (which will eventually form the gut and its derivatives). A third, middle embryonic layer—the mesoderm—is not yet seen at this stage. The embryo at this stage is a two-layer-thick disc separated from the cytotrophoblast of the chorion by an amniotic cavity.

As the syncytiotrophoblast invades the endometrium, it secretes protein-digesting enzymes that create numerous blood-filled cavities in the maternal tissue. The cytotrophoblast then forms projections, or villi (fig. 20.47), that grow into these pools of venous blood, producing a leafy-appearing structure called the chorion frondosum (frond = leaf). This occurs only on the side of the chorion that faces the uterine wall. As the embryonic structures grow, the other side of the chorion bulges into the cavity of the uterus, loses its villi, and takes on a smooth appearance.

Since the chorionic membrane is derived from the zygote, and since the zygote inherits paternal genes that produce proteins foreign to the mother, scientists have long wondered why the mother's immune system doesn't attack the embryonic tissues. The placenta, it seems, is an "immunologically privileged site." Recent studies suggest that this immune protection may be due to FAS ligand, which is produced by the cytotrophoblast. As you may recall from chapter 15, T lymphocytes produce a surface receptor called FAS. The binding of FAS to FAS ligand triggers the apoptosis (cell suicide) of those lymphocytes, thereby preventing them from attacking the placenta.

Formation of the Placenta and Amniotic Sac

As the blastocyst implants in the endometrium and the chorion develops, the cells of the endometrium also undergo changes. These changes, including cellular growth and the accumulation of glycogen, are collectively called the decidual reaction. The maternal tissue in contact with the chorion frondosum is called the decidua basalis. These two structures—chorion frondosum (fetal tissue) and decidua basalis (maternal tissue)—together form the functional unit known as the placenta.

Chorion Frondosum

Chorion Amnion

Amniotic sac containing amniotic fluid Yolk sac


Villi of chorion frondosum


Chorion Frondosum

Umbilical blood vessels

■ Figure 20.47 The extraembryonic membranes. After the syncytiotrophoblast has created blood-filled cavities in the endometrium, these cavities are invaded by extensions of the cytotrophoblast (a). These extensions, or villi, branch extensively to produce the chorion frondosum (b). The developing embryo is surrounded by a membrane called the amnion.

The disc-shaped human placenta is continuous at its outer surface with the smooth part of the chorion, which bulges into the uterine cavity. Immediately beneath the chorionic membrane is the amnion, which has grown to envelop the entire embryo (fig. 20.48). The embryo, together with its umbilical cord, is therefore located within the fluid-filled amniotic sac.

Amniotic fluid is formed initially as an isotonic secretion. Later, the volume is increased and the concentration changed by urine from the fetus. Amniotic fluid also contains cells that are sloughed off from the fetus, placenta, and amniotic sac. Since all of these cells are derived from the same fertilized ovum, all have the same genetic composition. Many genetic abnormalities can be detected by aspiration of this fluid and examination of the cells thus obtained. This procedure is called amniocentesis (fig. 20.49).

Amniocentesis is usually performed at about the sixteenth week of pregnancy. By this time the amniotic sac contains between 175 to 225 ml of fluid. Genetic diseases such as Down

Placenta Chorion Frondosum

■ Figure 20.48 The amniotic sac and placenta. Blood from the embryo is carried to and from the chorion frondosum by umbilical arteries and veins. The maternal tissue between the chorionic villi is known as the decidua basalis; this tissue, together with the chorionic villi, forms the functioning placenta. The space between chorion and amnion is obliterated, and the fetus lies within the fluid-filled amniotic sac.

syndrome (characterized by three instead of two chromosomes number 21) can be detected by examining chromosomes; diseases such as Tay-Sachs disease, in which degeneration of myelin sheaths results from a defective enzyme, can be detected by biochemical techniques.

The amniotic fluid that is withdrawn contains fetal cells at a concentration too low to permit direct determination of genetic or chromosomal disorders. These cells must therefore be cultured in vitro for 10 to i4 days before they are present in sufficient numbers for the laboratory tests required. A newer method, called chorionic villus biopsy, is now available to detect genetic disorders earlier than permitted by amniocentesis. In chorionic villus biopsy, a catheter is inserted through the cervix to the chorion and a sample of a chorionic villus is obtained by suction or cutting. Genetic tests can be performed directly on the villus sample because it contains much larger numbers of fetal cells than does a sample of amniotic fluid. Chorionic villus biopsy can provide genetic information at 12 weeks' gestation. Amniocentesis, by contrast, cannot provide such information before about 20 weeks.

Major structural abnormalities that may not be predictable from genetic analysis can often be detected by ultrasound. Sound-wave vibrations are reflected from the interface of tissues with different densities—such as the interface between the fetus and amniotic fluid—and used to produce an image. This technique is so sensitive that it can be used to detect a fetal heartbeat several weeks before it can be heard using a stethoscope.

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    When does placenta take over hormone production from chorion frondosum?
    8 years ago
  • porro
    When does chorionic villi form?
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  • Justiina
    Which structure is the blastocyst implantation?
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  • heike
    Which cells of the blastocyst contribute to the placenta?
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  • Dollie
    What is the function of the chorion?
    8 years ago
  • ariam michael
    When does the blastocyst implant in human pregnancy?
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  • Lavinia
    What part of the blastocyst forms the chorion?
    8 years ago
  • estella
    What part of the blastocyst form the chorionic villi?
    8 years ago
  • Fredegar
    What hormone is secreted when the blastocyst implants?
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  • evan
    8 years ago
  • donald
    Where is the decidua basalis and villi located?
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  • leea
    Where does blastocyst become embedded?
    8 years ago
    Can a blood test came out positive with the blastocyst stage?
    8 years ago
  • opal meaux
    What is the major functioning unit of the placenta?
    8 years ago
  • taziana
    Does it take longer for a blastocyst to produce hcg after implantation?
    8 years ago
  • kip
    What is formed from the functional endometrium and embryonic membranes?
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  • Ottavio
    Is the placenta inside amniotic sac?
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  • Proserpina
    When does the chorion becomes the placenta in early pregnancy?
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  • Eden
    Does the placenta implant at 6 weeks?
    8 years ago
    Where is the placenta in relation to the amniotic sac?
    8 years ago
  • joel
    What is chorionic frondosum?
    8 years ago
  • susanne kalb
    What is a chorion for an embryo?
    8 years ago
  • sara
    What is the difference in the chorion and amnion?
    8 years ago
  • christine mehler
    When does blastocyst become implanted to the endomethrium?
    8 years ago
  • Andreas Maier
    How placenta is formed?
    8 years ago
  • murdo
    When does blastocyst become planted in the endomerium?
    8 years ago
    Does the placenta implant on the same side of the uterus as the blastocyst?
    8 years ago
  • adele lombardo
    How many weeks it takes for the placenta to implant in the uterus?
    7 years ago
  • sara
    How the placenta is formed from the blastocyst to a fully functioning placenta?
    7 years ago
  • Eliana
    Does the amnion secrete a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin?
    7 years ago
  • rebecca
    How the placenta is formed from the blastocyst to a fully functioning placenta and its function?
    7 years ago
  • sabrina
    What is the function of placenta being developed from blastocyst to fully functioning placenta?
    7 years ago
  • maria
    How the placenta forms from the blastocyst to a fully functioning placenta?
    7 years ago
  • antje
    How does the hormone oestrogen changes afer fertilization to a fully functioning placenta?
    7 years ago
  • paul
    Has formed a protective membrane called the chorion releases a hormone?
    7 years ago
  • ghenet
    When does blastocyst formation occur in humans?
    7 years ago
  • giovanna panicucci
    Why umbilical cord cell have same genetic composition as celks of fetus?
    7 years ago
  • lotta
    Does a plastocyst of cells produce progrstorone?
    7 years ago
  • amalda bunce
    When is the formation of amniotiic sac and placenta?
    6 years ago
  • Miika
    How the placenta is formed from a blastocyt to a fully functionin gplacents?
    6 years ago
  • mehari
    What is the difference between the amniotic sac and the placenta?
    3 years ago
  • dorothy
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    3 years ago
  • david glenn
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    3 years ago
  • Laverne
    When is formation of amniotic sac and placenta?
    3 years ago
  • abbie
    What is the chorion frondosum in relation to implantation?
    2 years ago
  • Giorgia
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    2 years ago
  • Natascia
    Does implantation happen before the placenta forms?
    1 year ago
  • poppy
    Does the yolk sac implant in the placenta?
    1 year ago
  • Matilda
    Does the embryo create the amniotic sac?
    10 months ago
    Does the chorion produce HCG?
    9 months ago
  • aila
    What level of endometrium does placenta implant into?
    7 months ago
  • alina piazza
    Does amnion form before or after placenta formation?
    2 months ago
  • reijo
    When does the trophoblast becomes part of the placenta?
    1 month ago
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    Does the placenta form from the blastocyst?
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  • kaiju söderström
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  • vincent
    Who secretes hcg after implantation?
    26 days ago

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