A light microscope study of the choriovitelline (yolk sac) placenta of the dasyurid marsupial, Sminthopsis crassicaudata, and some comparative observations on that of the didelphid, Monodelphis domestica, were performed. In the former species, the placenta was composed of an invasive bilaminar, avascular, yolk sac and a non-invasive trilaminar, vascular yolk sac. The bilaminar yolk sac placenta had trophoblast giant cells that eroded the maternal epithelium, but there was no evidence of invasion of maternal capillaries; thus, an endotheliochorial placenta was present. In the trilaminar yolk sac placenta, the convoluted chorion followed the contours of the highly folded endometrial epithelium but did not erode it and, therefore, an epitheliochorial placenta was formed. In late pregnancy, the chorio-vitelline placenta of Monodelphis domestica also had two regions, but the fetal trophoblast did not invade the uterine epithelium in either region. Rather, there were discontinuous areas of adhesion between trophoblast giant cells and uterine epithelium in the trilaminar yolk sac placenta and some extensive areas of adhesion in the attenuated bilaminar yolk sac placenta. The yolk sac placenta in M. domestica, unlike that of S. crassicaudata, therefore appears to be epitheliochorial in the vascular and non-vascular regions.
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