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Keywords:

  • horse;
  • placenta;
  • allantochorion;
  • microcotyledons;
  • histotroph;
  • fetal development

Summary

The development of the equine placenta involves a series of stage-specific events which ensure that the fetus is nourished throughout its 11 months of gestation. Initially, placental exchange to the developing embryo is histotrophic, via the yolk sac but, as the allantochorion develops and microcotyledons form, haemotrophic nutrition plays the major role in sustaining the increasing demands of the growing fetus. This review describes the development of the allantochorionic placenta of the mare and discusses some of the factors that influence its growth, size and functions and, hence, its control of fetal growth and maturation.