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Uterine and chorioallantoic angiogenesis and changes in the uterine epithelium during gestation in the viviparous lizard, niveoscincus conventryi (squamata: scincidae)

Authors

  • Martha Patricia Ramírez-Pinilla,

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratorio de Biología Reproductiva de Vertebrados, Escuela de Biología, Grupo de Estudios en Biodiversidad, Universidad Industrial de Santander, Bucaramanga, Colombia
    • Escuela de Biología, Universidad Industrial de Santander, Bucaramanga, Colombia
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  • Scott L. Parker,

    1. Department of Biology, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, South Carolina 29528, USA
    2. School of Biological Sciences (A08), University of Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia
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  • Christopher R. Murphy,

    1. Discipline of Anatomy and Histology, School of Medical Science and Bosch Institute, University of Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia
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  • Michael B. Thompson

    1. School of Biological Sciences (A08), University of Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia
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Abstract

We used immunofluorescent confocal microscopy and scanning electron microscopy to quantify uterine vascularity and to describe uterine surface morphology during gestation in pregnant females of the lecithotrophic lizard Niveoscincus coventryi. As uterine angiogenesis and epithelial cell morphology are thought to be under progesterone control, we studied the effect of a progesterone receptor antagonist (mifepristone) on uterine and chorioallantoic microvasculature and features of the uterine epithelial surfaces. Although intussuceptive angiogenesis was observed in both, uterine and chorioallantoic, vascular beds during gestation, the only significant increases were in the diameters of the uterine vessels. An ellipsoid vessel-dense area grows in the mesometrial hemisphere of the developing conceptus, which parallels the expansion of the allantois to form the chorioallantoic placenta. Uterine surface topography changed during gestation. In particular, uterine blood vessels bulge over the luminal surface to form marked ridges on the uterine embryonic hemisphere, especially during the last stage of pregnancy, and ciliated cells are maintained in the embryonic and abembryonic hemispheres but disappear in both the mesometrial and antimesometrial poles. This distinct regionalization of uterine ridges and ciliated cells in the uterine surface and in the shape of the epithelial component of the chorion might be related to the function of both chorioallantoic and yolk sac placentae during gestation. There was no significant difference between females treated with or without mifepristone, which may be related to the partial function of mifepristone as a progestin antagonist and/or with the function and time of action of progesterone in the uterus during gestation in N. coventryi. Differences in the pattern of angiogenesis and uterine surface morphology during gestation among squamates may be related to the functional diversity of the uterine component of the different placentae and probably reflect its diverse evolutionary history. J. Morphol., 2011. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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