The materno-fetal interface in llama (Lama guanicoe glama)

David M. Iturrizaga, Flavia T. Verechia, Tatiana C. Santos, Pedro P. Bombonato, Dulcinéa G. Teixeira, Maria A. Miglino

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Samples from 9 llamas (28 through 36 weeks of gestation) were collected and fixed in 4% buffered paraformaldehyde (light microscopy) and in 2.5% buffered glutaraldehyde (transmission and scanning electron microscopy). The material was processed in paraplast and slides (5μm) were stained with HE, PAS, Masson-Trichrome, acid phosphatase and Perl's. The uteroferrin was immunolocalized. The results show that llama placenta is chorioallantoic, diffuse, folded and epitheliochorial, and the fetus is covered with an epidermal membrane. The trophoblast cells have variable morphology: cubic, rounded and triangular cells, with cytoplasm containing PAS-positive granules. Binucleated cells with large cytoplasm and rounded nuclei, as well as giant trophoblastic cells with multiple nuclei were also observed. Numerous blood vessels were observed beneath the cells of the uterine epithelium and around the chorionic subdivided branches. Glandular activity was shown by PAS, Perl's, and acid phosphatase positive reactions in the cytoplasm and glandular lumen, and by immunolocalization of the uteroferrin in the glandular epithelium. The uterine glands open in spaces formed by the areoles, which are filled by PAS-positive material. The llama fetus was covered by the epidermal membrane, composed of stratified epithelium, with up to seven layers of mono-, bi- or trinucleated cells. The high level of maternal and fetal vascularization surfaces indicates an intense exchange of substances across both surfaces. The metabolic activity shown in the uterine glands suggests an adaptation of the gestation to the high altitudes of the natural habitat of this species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-228
Number of pages8
JournalPesquisa Veterinaria Brasileira
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Ephiteliochorial
  • Llama
  • Morphology
  • Placenta
  • Trophoblast
  • Uteroferrin


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