Embryonic/Fetal Development, Placentation and Glycosaminoglycans in the Female Reproductive Tract and Placenta

Herson da Silva Costa, Felipe Venceslau Câmara, Ferdinando Fernandes Bezerra Vinicius, Carlos Eduardo Bezerra de Moura, Alexsandra Fernandes Pereira, Alexandre Rodrigues Silva, Maria Angélica Miglino, Moacir Franco de Oliveira


Background: Fetal attachments, placentation and embryonic development have been widely discussed in rodents such as agoutis and cavies, as well as research on glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) in rats and rabbits. Moreover, studies on buffalo, cattle and sheep are described in ruminants, and work has also been reported in sheep with GAGs in placentoma. However, further studies are needed in this regard, since there are reports of economic losses associated with reproductive failures described for cattle such as changes in the chorion and allantois, and in sheep in which changes between the transition from vitelline to allantois circulation have been discussed.  

Review: In relation to embryonic development, detailed studies have been described in rodents such as rats (12 days old), desert mouse (15 days old) and agoutis at 30 days. Macroscopic structures such as the cephalic region, nose, optic vesicle, cervical curvature, thoracic and pelvic limbs were observed, as well as microscopic structures such as the pituitary, lung, heart, brain cavity, liver, retina, and ossification regions. There are reports of buffalo and cattle studies in ruminants describing early embryonic development. However, the research in the case of sheep is limited, meaning there is only the ultrasound examination, such as gestational diagnosis and morphometric measurement of the embryonic vesicle. Still, studies with umbilical funicular and placental development of sheep with different gestational ages can be highlighted. Regarding extraembryonic annexes, four important structures which contribute to embryonic maintenance have been reported. These are called the chorion, amnion, allantois and yolk sac, respectively, and are responsible for originating the placenta, embryonic protection, collecting metabolic waste and early embryonic nutrition. In addition, correlating the annexes gives rise to the placentation process, which were described two models; the first is transient, called chorioviteline, and the second is called chorioallantoid, which represents the definitive model. Allied to the gestational process, the importance of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and proteoglycans are worth mentioning, as they are essential components of the extracellular matrix. They are related in the implantation process, tissue organization during gestation, and also in placental angiogenesis, as described in ruminants (i.e. involved in the vascular growth that accompanies the development of the placenta), which in turn causes an increase in blood flow in this organ, and constitutes a determining factor for fetal development. 

Conclusion: Such studies regarding the embryonic development of ruminants are still limited to sonographic description and some information is only available in the context of extraembryonic membranes. For glycosaminoglycans, chondroitin sulfate, dermatan sulfate, heparan sulfate and hyaluronic acid are identified in the reproductive tract and placenta. We intend to produce important information for the reproductive and sanitary management of ruminants with the information in this article, providing data to stimulate new studies aiming to minimize the occurrence of embryonic death and economic losses. In addition, further studies on GAGs are needed to better understand their true correlation with gestation, so they can intercede through supplementation and minimize reproductive losses.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22456/1679-9216.100339

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