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The chorion is one of the membranes that exists during pregnancy between the developing fetus and mother. It surrounds the embryo and other membranes. The chorionic villi emerge from the chorion, invade the endometrium, and allow transfer of nutrients from maternal blood to fetal blood.
The trophoblast is made up of an internal layer of cubical or prismatic cells, the cytotrophoblast or layer of Langhans, and an external layer of richly nucleated protoplasm devoid of cell boundaries, the syncytiotrophoblast.
The chorion undergoes rapid proliferation and forms numerous processes, the chorionic villi, which invade and destroy the uterine decidua and at the same time absorb from it nutritive materials for the growth of the embryo.
The chorionic villi are at first small and non-vascular, and consist of the trophoblast only, but they increase in size and ramify, whereas the mesoderm, carrying branches of the umbilical vessels, grows into them, and, in this way, are vascularized.
Blood is carried to the villi by the branches of the umbilical arteries, and, after circulating through the capillaries of the villi, is returned to the embryo by the umbilical veins. Until about the end of the second month of pregnancy, the villi cover the entire chorion, and are almost uniform in size; but, after this, they develop unequally.
The greater part of the chorion is in contact with the decidua capsularis, and over this portion the villi, with their contained vessels, undergo atrophy, so that by the fourth month scarcely a trace of them is left, and hence this part of the chorion becomes smooth, and is named the chorion læve; as it takes no share in the formation of the placenta, it is also named the non-placental part of the chorion.
On the other hand, the villi on that part of the chorion which is in contact with the decidua placentalis increase greatly in size and complexity, and hence this part is named the chorion frondosum.
This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained herein may be outdated. Please edit the article if this is the case, and feel free to remove this notice when it is no longer relevant.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Chorion". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|