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Vol. 136, No. 3, 1989
Issue release date: 1989
Acta Anatomica 1989;136:190–203

Fetal Vasculogenesis and Angiogenesis in Human Placental Villi

Demir R. · Kaufmann P. · Castellucci M. · Erbengi T. · Kotowski A.
aDepartment of Histology and Embryology, Faculty of Medicine, Akdeniz University, Antalya, Turkey; bDepartment of Anatomy, RWTH Aachen, FRG; cDepartment of Histology and Embryology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Istanbul, Turkey

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Placental villi of 5 exactly defined early human specimens ranging from day 21 post conception (p.c.) until day 42 p.c. and from an additional 43 specimens from about 5 to 40 weeks menstrual age have been analyzed ultrastructurally with regard to fetal vasculogenesis and angiogenesis. The following results were obtained: The first cells differentiating at day 21 p.c. probably originating from mesenchymal precursors, are macrophage-like cells. At almost the same time, mesenchymal cells transform into haemangioblastic cell cords which are the forerunners of the capillary endothelium and haematopoietic stem cells. A third cell population related to the fetal circulatory system and derived from the mesenchymal cells are presumptive pericytes. Capillary formation takes place by the aggregation of haemangioblastic cells which are attached to each other by intercellular junctions. The lumen is formed by the dehiscence of the intercellular clefts. A capillary basal lamina cannot be detected earlier than in the last trimester. In this last period of gestation fetal villous angiogenesis takes place by the proliferation of the existing endothelium and pericytes rather than via haemangioblastic cells.

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