Three-Dimensional Aspects of Villous Maldevelopment

  • Kurt Benirschke
  • Peter Kaufmann


Placental histopathology is based on the light microscopy of paraffin sections. Thus the normal and pathological features of the placenta are usually described in terms of the two dimensions apparent by light microscopy. The studies by Kuestermann (1981), using reconstructions of serial paraffin sections, and by Burton (1986a,b; 1987), working with plastic serial sections, as well as those by Cantle et al. (1987) and Kaufmann et al. (1987), comparing lightmicroscopic findings of villous sections with scanning electron microscopic results of comparable and identical material (Figure 64), revealed that the two-dimensional impression does not always reflect the three-dimensional structure. This point is particularly true for the “syncytial knots,” “syncytial sprouts,” and “syncytial bridges,” most of which prove to be only tangential sections of the villous surface.


Semithin Section Sinusoidal Dilatation Villous Tree Terminal Villus Prolonged Pregnancy 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kurt Benirschke
    • 1
    • 2
  • Peter Kaufmann
    • 3
  1. 1.Pathology and Reproductive MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.University Medical CenterSan DiegoUSA
  3. 3.Institut für Anatomie der Medizinischen Fakultät, Rheinisch-Westfälische TechnischeHochschule AachenAachenGermany

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