• glycogen;
  • foeto–maternal interface;
  • invasion;
  • polyploidisation;
  • proliferation;
  • trophoblast


In the field vole Microtus rossiaemeridionalis, like in other rodents, invasive secondary giant trophoblast cells (SGTC) form a continuous layer at the foeto–maternal interface in the beginning of placentation. However, in the field vole, at midgestation, clusters of junctional zone (JZ) trophoblast non-giant cells interrupt SGTC layer and progressively replace SGTC at the border of decidua basalis. As a result, ‘border’ cells form a continuous stratum of cytokeratin-positive glycogen-rich cells at the foeto–maternal interface. SGTC plunge into JZ and line the lacunae with maternal blood. SGTC are bound by their highly cytokeratin-positive sprouts forming a framework that holds other trophoblast cell populations. According to DNA cytophotometry, the ‘border’ cells show the highest ploidy among the JZ cells (up to 46% of 8c cells). Thus, in M. rossiaemeridionalis the role of barrier between semiallogenic foetal and maternal tissues is shifted from the highly endopolyploid (32c-1024c) SGTC to the specific subpopulation of glycogen-rich non-giant (2c-16c) ‘border’ trophoblast cells that, however, exceed the ploidy of the deeply located and/or proliferative JZ trophoblast cells.