Int. J. Dev. Biol. 54: 397 - 407 (2010)
doi: 10.1387/ijdb.082758ea
© UBC Press

Estrogen regulation of placental angiogenesis and fetal ovarian development during primate pregnancy

Eugene D. Albrecht*,1 and Gerald J. Pepe2

1Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Center for Studies in Reproduction, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland and 2Department of Physiological Sciences, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, Virginia, USA

ABSTRACT During human and nonhuman primate pregnancy, an extensive blood vessel network is established within the villous placenta to support fetal growth and follicles develop within the fetal ovary to provide a pool of oocytes for reproductive function in adulthood. These two important developmental events occur in association with a progressive increase in placental estrogen production and levels. This review will describe the developmental processes required for placental vascularization and fetal follicular maturation and recent studies which show that estrogen has an important role in regulating these events.

Keywords:

placenta, estrogen, angiogenesis, fetus, ovary

*Corresponding author e-mail: ealbrech@umaryland.edu