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Evolutionary implications of fetal and maternal microvillous surfaces in epitheliochorial placentae


Kazemian, Ali; Hooshmandabbasi, Reyhaneh; Schraner, Elisabeth M; Boos, Alois; Klisch, Karl (2019). Evolutionary implications of fetal and maternal microvillous surfaces in epitheliochorial placentae. Journal of Morphology, 280(4):615-622.

Abstract

According to the "parent-offspring conflict hypothesis" the rapid evolution and diversification of the mammalian placenta is driven by divergent optima of resource allocation between fetus and mother. The fetus has an interest to maximize its resource intake, while the mother has an interest to restrict the transfer of resources, and thus retain resources for subsequent pregnancies. In the epitheliochorial placenta, the contacting fetal and maternal surfaces at the feto-maternal interface are covered with microvilli, which leads to an increase of membrane surfaces available for transport processes. Because membranes are the site of active transport, the conflict hypothesis predicts that the fetal surfaces at the feto-maternal interfaces are larger than the maternal ones. We use transmission electron microscopy and a stereological method to estimate the factors by which the apical fetal and maternal membranes are enlarged by the microvilli. Ten species with an epitheliochorial placenta were studied. Focused ion beam-scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM) was used to create three-dimensional models of the interdigitating microvilli of the bovine and porcine placenta. In all species, the fetal surface was larger than the maternal. This was due to a higher number of fetal microvilli and to the presence of membrane folds at the base of the fetal, but not of maternal microvilli. Our results suggest that the ultrastructural morphology of the feto-maternal interface in the epitheliochorial placenta is shaped by conflicting interests between fetus and mother and thus represent a so far neglected arena of the parent-offspring conflict.

Abstract

According to the "parent-offspring conflict hypothesis" the rapid evolution and diversification of the mammalian placenta is driven by divergent optima of resource allocation between fetus and mother. The fetus has an interest to maximize its resource intake, while the mother has an interest to restrict the transfer of resources, and thus retain resources for subsequent pregnancies. In the epitheliochorial placenta, the contacting fetal and maternal surfaces at the feto-maternal interface are covered with microvilli, which leads to an increase of membrane surfaces available for transport processes. Because membranes are the site of active transport, the conflict hypothesis predicts that the fetal surfaces at the feto-maternal interfaces are larger than the maternal ones. We use transmission electron microscopy and a stereological method to estimate the factors by which the apical fetal and maternal membranes are enlarged by the microvilli. Ten species with an epitheliochorial placenta were studied. Focused ion beam-scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM) was used to create three-dimensional models of the interdigitating microvilli of the bovine and porcine placenta. In all species, the fetal surface was larger than the maternal. This was due to a higher number of fetal microvilli and to the presence of membrane folds at the base of the fetal, but not of maternal microvilli. Our results suggest that the ultrastructural morphology of the feto-maternal interface in the epitheliochorial placenta is shaped by conflicting interests between fetus and mother and thus represent a so far neglected arena of the parent-offspring conflict.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Institute of Veterinary Anatomy
05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Institute of Virology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Animal Science and Zoology
Life Sciences > Developmental Biology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Developmental Biology, Animal Science and Zoology, coevolution; conflict; evolution; reproduction; trophoblast
Language:English
Date:1 April 2019
Deposited On:19 Jul 2019 07:59
Last Modified:15 Apr 2020 23:55
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0022-2887
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/jmor.20970
PubMed ID:30805975

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