Monday, June 25, 2007


Day 8
At the eighth day of development, the blastocyst is partially
embedded in the endometrial stroma. In the area over the embryoblast,
the trophoblast has differentiated into two layers:
(a) an inner layer of mononucleated cells, the cytotrophoblast,
and (b) an outer multinucleated zone without distinct cell boundaries,
the syncytiotrophoblast (Figs. 3.1 and 3.2). Mitotic figures are
found in the cytotrophoblast but not in the syncytiotrophoblast. Thus,
cells in the cytotrophoblast divide and migrate into the syncytiotrophoblast,
where they fuse and lose their individual cell membranes.
Cells of the inner cell mass or embryoblast also differentiate into two
layers: (a) a layer of small cuboidal cells adjacent to the blastocyst cavity,
known as the hypoblast layer, and (b) a layer of high columnar cells
adjacent to the amniotic cavity, the epiblast layer (Figs. 3.1 and 3.2).
Together, the layers form a flat disc. At the same time, a small cavity
appears within the epiblast. This cavity enlarges to become theamniotic cavity. Epiblast cells adjacent to the cytotrophoblast are called amnioblasts;
together with the rest of the epiblast, they line the amniotic cavity
(Figs. 3.1 and 3.3). The endometrial stroma adjacent to the implantation site
is edematous and highly vascular. The large, tortuous glands secrete abundant
glycogen and mucus.

Day 9
The blastocyst is more deeply embedded in the endometrium, and the penetration
defect in the surface epithelium is closed by a fibrin coagulum (Fig. 3.3).
The trophoblast shows considerable progress in development, particularly at
the embryonic pole, where vacuoles appear in the syncytium. When these vacuoles
fuse, they form large lacunae, and this phase of trophoblast development
is thus known as the lacunar stage (Fig. 3.3).
At the abembryonic pole, meanwhile, flattened cells probably originating
from the hypoblast form a thin membrane, the exocoelomic (Heuser’s) membrane,
that lines the inner surface of the cytotrophoblast (Fig. 3.3). This membrane,
together with the hypoblast, forms the lining of the exocoelomic cavity,
or primitive yolk sac.

Days 11 and 12
By the 11th to 12th day of development, the blastocyst is completely embedded
in the endometrial stroma, and the surface epithelium almost entirely covers
the original defect in the uterine wall (Figs. 3.4 and 3.5). The blastocyst now
produces a slight protrusion into the lumen of the uterus. The trophoblast is
characterized by lacunar spaces in the syncytium that form an intercommunicating
network. This network is particularly evident at the embryonic pole; at
the abembryonic pole, the trophoblast still consists mainly of cytotrophoblastic
cells (Figs. 3.4 and 3.5).
Concurrently, cells of the syncytiotrophoblast penetrate deeper into the
stroma and erode the endothelial lining of the maternal capillaries. These capillaries,
which are congested and dilated, are known as sinusoids. The syncytial
lacunae become continuous with the sinusoids and maternal blood enters the
lacunar system (Fig. 3.4). As the trophoblast continues to erode more and more
sinusoids, maternal blood begins to flow through the trophoblastic system, establishing
the uteroplacental circulation.
In the meantime, a new population of cells appears between the inner
surface of the cytotrophoblast and the outer surface of the exocoelomiccavity. These cells, derived from yolk sac cells, form a fine, loose connective
tissue, the extraembryonic mesoderm, which eventually fills all of the
space between the trophoblast externally and the amnion and exocoelomic
membrane internally (Figs. 3.4 and 3.5). Soon, large cavities develop in the
extraembryonic mesoderm, and when these become confluent, they form
a new space known as the extraembryonic coelom, or chorionic cavity
(Fig. 3.4). This space surrounds the primitive yolk sac and amniotic cavity except
where the germ disc is connected to the trophoblast by the connecting stalk
(Fig. 3.6). The extraembryonic mesoderm lining the cytotrophoblast and amnion
is called the extraembryonic somatopleuric mesoderm; the lining covering
the yolk sac is known as the extraembryonic splanchnopleuric mesoderm
(Fig. 3.4).
Growth of the bilaminar disc is relatively slowcompared with that of the trophoblast;
consequently, the disc remains very small (0.1–0.2 mm). Cells of the
endometrium, meanwhile, become polyhedral and loaded with glycogen and
lipids; intercellular spaces are filled with extravasate, and the tissue is edematous.
These changes, known as the decidua reaction, at first are confined to the
area immediately surrounding the implantation site but soon occur throughout
the endometrium.

Day 13
By the 13th day of development, the surface defect in the endometrium has
usually healed. Occasionally, however, bleeding occurs at the implantation site
as a result of increased blood flow into the lacunar spaces. Because this bleeding
occurs near the 28th day of the menstrual cycle, it may be confused withnormal menstrual bleeding and, therefore, cause inaccuracy in determining
the expected delivery date.
The trophoblast is characterized by villous structures. Cells of the cytotrophoblast
proliferate locally and penetrate into the syncytiotrophoblast,
forming cellular columns surrounded by syncytium. Cellular columns with
the syncytial covering are known as primary villi (Figs. 3.6 and 3.7) (see
Chapter 4).
In the meantime, the hypoblast produces additional cells that migrate along
the inside of the exocoelomic membrane (Fig. 3.4). These cells proliferate and
gradually form a new cavity within the exocoelomic cavity. This new cavity is
known as the secondary yolk sac or definitive yolk sac (Figs. 3.6 and 3.7). This
yolk sac is much smaller than the original exocoelomic cavity, or primitive yolk
sac. During its formation, large portions of the exocoelomic cavity are pinched
off. These portions are represented by exocoelomic cysts, which are often
found in the extraembryonic coelom or chorionic cavity (Figs. 3.6 and 3.7).
Meanwhile, the extraembryonic coelom expands and forms a large cavity,
the chorionic cavity. The extraembryonic mesoderm lining the inside of the
cytotrophoblast is then known as the chorionic plate. The only place where
extraembryonic mesoderm traverses the chorionic cavity is in the connecting
stalk (Fig. 3.6). With development of blood vessels, the stalk becomes the
umbilical cord.

At the beginning of the second week, the blastocyst is partially embedded
in the endometrial stroma. The trophoblast differentiates into (a)
an inner, actively proliferating layer, the cytotrophoblast, and (b) an
outer layer, the syncytiotrophoblast, which erodes maternal tissues (Fig. 3.1).
By day 9, lacunae develop in the syncytiotrophoblast. Subsequently, maternal
sinusoids are eroded by the syncytiotrophoblast, maternal blood enters the
lacunar network, and by the end of the second week, a primitive uteroplacental
circulation begins (Fig. 3.6). The cytotrophoblast, meanwhile, forms
cellular columns penetrating into and surrounded by the syncytium. These
columns are primary villi. By the end of the second week, the blastocyst
is completely embedded, and the surface defect in the mucosa has healed
(Fig. 3.6).
The inner cell mass or embryoblast, meanwhile, differentiates into (a) the
epiblast and (b) the hypoblast, together forming a bilaminar disc (Fig. 3.1).
Epiblast cells give rise to amnioblasts that line the amniotic cavity superior
to the epiblast layer. Endoderm cells are continuous with the exocoelomic
membrane, and together they surround the primitive yolk sac (Fig. 3.4). By
the end of the second week, extraembryonic mesoderm fills the space between
the trophoblast and the amnion and exocoelomic membrane internally. When
vacuoles develop in this tissue, the extraembryonic coelom or chorionic cavity
forms (Fig. 3.6). Extraembryonic mesoderm lining the cytotrophoblast and
62 Part One: General Embryology
amnion is extraembryonic somatopleuric mesoderm; the lining surrounding
the yolk sac is extraembryonic splanchnopleuric mesoderm (Fig. 3.6).
The second week of development is known as the week of twos: The
trophoblast differentiates into two layers, the cytotrophoblast and syncytiotrophoblast.
The embryoblast forms two layers, the epiblast and hypoblast.
The extraembryonic mesoderm splits into two layers, the somatopleure and
splanchnopleure. And two cavities, the amniotic and yolk sac cavities, form.
Implantation occurs at the end of the first week. Trophoblast cells invade the
epithelium and underlying endometrial stroma with the help of proteolytic enzymes.
Implantationmay also occur outside the uterus, such as in the rectouterine
pouch, on the mesentery, in the uterine tube, or in the ovary (ectopic pregnancies).