Summary. Weight of placental tissues of cows increased exponentially from Day 100 to Day 250 of gestation, but at much slower relative and absolute rates than fetal weight. In addition, growth rate of fetal placental tissues was less than that of maternal placental tissues. Concentrations of DNA, RNA and protein, however, increased in fetal placental but not in maternal placental tissues. Fetal placental tissues therefore exhibited hyperplasia, which probably contributes to increased functional capacity of the placenta during late gestation. The rate of O2 uptake in vitro was greatest for maternal placental tissues, suggesting that the maternal portion of the placenta accounts for most of the large rate of placental O2 utilization in vivo. Compared with other placental tissues, rate of secretion of macromolecules by intercaruncular endometrium was high, but decreased from Day 100 to 250, suggesting that uterine glandular secretory activity may decrease as gestation advances. Rate of secretion of macromolecules also was high for intercotyledonary tissues and increased with day of gestation, suggesting a role for secretory products of chorioallantois in gravid uterine function.
Keywords: placenta; growth; metabolism; cow; gestation