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11 May 2022 The mystery of the life tree: the placentas
Xuan Shao, Wenzhe Yu, Yun Yang, Feiyang Wang, Xin Yu, Hongyu Wu, Yeling Ma, Bin Cao, Yan-Ling Wang
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The placenta is the interface between the fetal and maternal environments during mammalian gestation, critically safeguarding the health of the developing fetus and the mother. Placental trophoblasts origin from embryonic trophectoderm that differentiates into various trophoblastic subtypes through villous and extravillous pathways. The trophoblasts actively interact with multiple decidual cells and immune cells at the maternal–fetal interface and thus construct fundamental functional units, which are responsible for blood perfusion, maternal–fetal material exchange, placental endocrine, immune tolerance, and adequate defense barrier against pathogen infection. Various pregnant complications are tightly associated with the defects in placental development and function maintenance. In this review, we summarize the current views and our recent progress on the mechanisms underlying the formation of placental functional units, the interactions among trophoblasts and various uterine cells, as well as the placental barrier against pathogen infections during pregnancy. The involvement of placental dysregulation in adverse pregnancy outcomes is discussed.

Summary Sentence

We summarize recent progresses on the regulatory mechanisms involved in the formation of placental functional units, including maternal–fetal material exchange, blood perfusion, endocrine, immune adaptation, and defense barrier against infection.

© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Society for the Study of Reproduction. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:
Xuan Shao, Wenzhe Yu, Yun Yang, Feiyang Wang, Xin Yu, Hongyu Wu, Yeling Ma, Bin Cao, and Yan-Ling Wang "The mystery of the life tree: the placentas," Biology of Reproduction 107(1), 301-316, (11 May 2022).
Received: 29 December 2021; Accepted: 21 May 2022; Published: 11 May 2022

functional units
pathogen infection
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