2010 Lab 4
Cardiovascular and Placenta
This laboratory will explore the development of the embryonic cardiovascular system, which includes the placental vascular system. We will look through cross-sections of the Carnegie stage 14 embryo and follow the flow of blood through the embryonic vasculature. In this lab, we will also examine placentation.
- Understand development of early embryo heart and vascular system.
- Understand the early placentation events and the development of placental blood vessels.
The vascular system of the embryo is formed from blood islands that appear in the extraembryonic mesoderm of the yolk sac and the embryonic mesoderm (primarily splanchnic mesoderm). Both of these clusters fuse together and extend, forming a vast network.
The early circulation has 3 components: Vitelline, Embryonic, Placental Each of these has its own system of arteries and veins.
- Vitelline - (not shown) the vitelline arteries branch off the dorsal aortas and enter the yolk sac, covering its entire surface. The vitelline veins return red blood cells from the capillary beds to the sinus venosus, posterior to the heart. The vitelline vessels eventually contribute to the portal system of the liver in the adult.
- Embryonic - blood from the dorsal aorta enters intersegmental arteries, including the arteries of the pharyngeal arches. The blood returns to the heart via the anterior and posterior cardinal veins.
- Placental - the umbilical arteries receive blood from the aorta. This is carried to the chorionic villi, where exchange occurs with the mother. Waste products are disposed of, nutrients and oxygen are collected, and then the umbilical veins convey the blood to the sinus venosus.
Heart - The heart develops from cardiogenic mesoderm, a region of splanchnic mesoderm lying above the buccopharyngeal membrane. Development begins in week 3 with the formation of a pair of heart tubes. These fuse and form a single tube in week 4, as a result of the embryonic folding processes that occur. As the heart grows, septation events occur, transforming it into a 4-chambered pump. Initially, the ventricles develop above the atria; however simultaneous growth and bending of the tube bring the structures into correct position. In humans, the heart begins to beat on day 22-23.