Although the guinea pig is an important animal model for human placentation, aspects of fetal nutrition are not fully understood, especially in regard to the yolk sac that is regarded to be essential for early development of the embryo. We investigated differentiation by means of histology, histochemistry, immunohistochemistry, and transmission electron microscopy. Data suggest that the guinea pigs yolk sac was not sufficiently developed to facilitate substantial fetal nutrition in early pregnancy. On Day 12, it was a flat, inverted, but avascular structure. This was followed by differentiation to form the typical, highly villous and vascularized condition of advanced gestation. Finally, the yolk sac degenerated toward term. We suggest that the guinea pig and other caviomorphs rely predominantly on hemotrophic nutrition via the placenta even in very early pregnancy. In contrast to the general pattern of mammals, histiotrophic nutrition via yolk sac routes seems to be most essential during mid-gestation.
The eutherian placenta is considered to possess great plasticity, but it is not clear how this variation reflects adaptation to different ecological niches. Because South America was isolated for most of the Tertiary, it represents a natural laboratory to examine this question. We here describe placentation in three South American groups: Xenarthra have been part of the fauna from at least the mid-Paleocene whereas caviomorph rodents and Neotropical primates are each derived from a single founder that reached South America in the Eocene and Oligocene, respectively. The common ancestor of Xenarthra had a villous, haemochorial placenta, from which the labyrinthine, endotheliochorial placenta of sloths later evolved. Placentation in Caviomorpha follows an extraordinary stable pattern, characterized by a haemomonochorial, labyrinthine and highly lobed structure with specialized growing areas. This pattern was present before arrival of these rodents in South America and enabled a successful radiation especially during the spread of grasslands. Neotropical primates have haemochorial, trabecular placentas with a specialized maternal blood supply; a pattern that contrasts with that of Old World monkeys and may have been present in the founder generation on arrival in South America. In conclusion, there is a dichotomy within Xenarthra but otherwise the ancient South American mammals do not show much variation in principal placental characters. Thus, the successful radiation of these three groups, and their adaptation to diverse ecological niches, did not require substantial alterations in placentation.
The evolutionary history of Hystricognathi is associated with major transformations in their placental system. Data so far indicate that key characters are independent from size dimensions in medium to very large species. To better understand the situation in smaller species, we analyzed placental development in a spiny rat, Thrichomys laurentinus. Fourteen individuals ranging from early implantation to near term were investigated by histology, immunohistochemistry, proliferation activity and electron microscopy. Placentation in Thrichomys revealed major parallels to the guinea pig and other hystricognath rodents with respect to the early and invasive implantation, the process of trophoblast invasion, the internal organization of the labyrinth and the trophospongium as well as the establishment of the complete inverted yolk sac placenta. In contrast to systematically related small-sized species, the placental regionalization in Thrichomys was characterized by a remarkable lobulated structure and associated growing processes. Reverse to former perspectives, these conditions represented ancient character states of hystricognaths. The subplacenta was temporarily supplied by both the maternal and fetal blood systems, a rare condition among hystricognaths. The extraplacental trophoblast originating from the subplacenta was partly proliferative in mid gestation. In conclusion, the presented results indicated that only minor variations occurred in small-sized hystricognath species, independent of their systematic interrelationships. Previous views were supported that placentation in hystricognaths followed an extraordinary stable pattern, although the group had distinct habitats in South America and Africa that were separated 30-40 million years ago.
Related JoVE Video
Journal of Visualized Experiments
What is Visualize?
JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
How does it work?
We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.