Medical research

'Mini-placentas' could provide a model for early pregnancy

Researchers say that new 'mini-placentas'—a cellular model of the early stages of the placenta—could provide a window into early pregnancy and help transform our understanding of reproductive disorders. Details of this ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Zika may hijack mother-fetus immunity route

To cross the placenta, Zika virus may hijack the route by which acquired immunity is transferred from mother to fetus, new research suggests.

Genetics

A single missing gene leads to miscarriage

A single gene from the mother plays such a crucial role in the development of the placenta that its dysfunction leads to miscarriages. Researchers from the Medical Faculty of Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) have observed this ...

Obstetrics & gynaecology

Making mice a tiny bit more human to study preterm birth

Preterm birth remains a global epidemic linked to a lifetime of potential health complications. It also is difficult to study in living creatures—especially the uniquely precise biology of preterm birth in humans.

Pediatrics

First evidence that soot from polluted air is reaching placenta

Evidence of tiny particles of carbon, typically created by burning fossil fuels, has been found in placentas for the first time, in new research presented today (Sunday) at the European Respiratory Society International Congress.

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Placenta

The placenta is an organ unique to mammals that connects the developing fetus to the uterine wall. The placenta supplies the fetus with oxygen and food, and allows fetal waste to be disposed of via the maternal kidneys. The word placenta comes from the Latin for cake, from Greek plakóenta/plakoúnta, accusative of plakóeis/plakoús - πλακόεις, πλακούς, "flat, slab-like", referring to its round, flat appearance in humans. Protherial (egg-laying) and metatherial (marsupial) mammals produce a choriovitelline placenta that, while connected to the uterine wall, provides nutrients mainly derived from the egg sac. The placenta develops from the same sperm and egg cells that form the fetus, and functions as a fetomaternal organ with two components, the fetal part (Chorion frondosum), and the maternal part (Decidua basalis).

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