Int. J. Dev. Biol. 35: 269 - 273 (1991)
© UPV/EHU Press

Stereological analysis of alpha and beta zones of syncytiotrophoblast in human term placenta.

B Durst-Zivkovic and D Grbesa

Department of Histology and Embryology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Zagreb, Republic of Croatia, Yugoslavia.

ABSTRACT The investigations were carried out to attempt to define and analyze various quantitative structural parameters of syncytiotrophoblast in human term placenta, especially of its functionally active parts, that is alpha and beta zones. The results demonstrated the following: The arrangement of alpha and beta zones in the placenta as a whole is even and regionally independent. Beta zones prevail quantitatively. Alpha zones make up only 8% of the total volume, 18% of the total surface and 39% of the thickness of beta zones. Sexual dimorphism is shown by a significantly higher volume density (VVa)(P less than 0.002), total volume (Va)(P less than 0.05) and surface density (SVa) (P less than 0.025) of alpha zones in placentas of female newborns. The fetoplacental index is higher in male newborns. During the tenth lunar month the structure of syncytiotrophoblast is changed. Between the 38th and 39th week the volume and surface densities of alpha zones are significantly higher (P less than 0.01), and in the 40th week the volume density and total volume of beta zones prevail significantly (P less than 0.01).