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Control of the fetoplacental circulation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 October 2008

Lena M Macara
University Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, UK
John CP Kingdom
University Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, UK
Peter Kaufmann
Lehrstuhl fur Anatomie II, Klinikum der RWTH, Germany.


This year marks the 250th anniversary of the discovery by William Hunter of the existence of two distinct circulations within the human placenta. Until relatively recently the placenta has been viewed with “respect” – a passive structure which occasionally elicited fear and anxiety if implanted either too low or too deep. More recently our understanding of perinatal physiology, blood flow regulation and epidemiological data linking prenatal events with adult disease has created renewed interest in the placenta. This review will focus on the regulation of fetal blood flow in the placenta, the possible mechanisms whereby it may be deranged and why this might be relevant to adult disease.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1993

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