By Nicholas S. Assali (Eds.)
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Gautieri and co-workers (62, 68, 122, 128, 221, 222) studied the action of numerous pharmacological agents on the vessels of the perfused human placenta. Morphine (122), meperidine (122), histamine (68), serotonin (122, 128), and catecholamines induced umbilical vasoconstriction (68). Although this group of investigators suggested the existence of adrenergic receptors in the umbilical vessels (221, 222), there is no concrete evidence that the extra abdominal vessels in the umbilical cord possess any inner- 48 LAWRENCE D.
On the other hand, Longo and Kleinzeller (209) recently demonstrated that the rate of uptake of galactose by human and rabbit placental slices was lowered in the absence of O2. They also demonstrated that steady state accumulation of galactose and 2-deoxy-D-galactose was de creased from normal values, indicating that the transport of these sugars resulted from an energy-dependent process requiring O2. Obviously this is an important problem, since the fetus would benefit if glucose transfer were maintained, or even increased, during hypoxia.
Human placenta at 1 2 weeks showing Langhans cell (C) with large mitochondria. The syncytium (S) has numerous smaller mitochondria, Golgi com plexes, and channels of endoplasmic reticulum, χ 15,000 (Courtesy of Dr. Ralph M. ) conditions causing interference when the number of cells is increasing during early gestation is probably not readily overcome. Pathological conditions during the last month of gestation may not affect cell division, but may decrease the cell size and development. This timing may be important in determining the outcome of nutritional deprivation.