The syncytiotrophoblast is a multinucleated layer without lateral cell borders, hence there is a single syncytiotro-phoblast covering all villi of a single placenta. Microvilli on its apical surface provide amplification of the surface (sevenfold) and are in direct contact to the maternal blood floating within the intervillous space (see Fig. 3.1c). Growth and maintenance of the syncytiotrophoblast is completely dependent on the fusion with the underlying cytotrophoblast, since syncytial nuclei do not display transcriptional activity.
Within the syncytiotrophoblast the incorporated nuclei first exhibit a large and ovoid shape, while during maturation they become smaller and denser. Finally, they display envelope convolution, increased packing density and increased heterochromatinization [19,20].
Syncytial fusion by far exceeds the needs for growth since the syncytiotrophoblast needs steady input for the maintenance of its functional and structural integrity. Consequently, the nuclei that are incorporated into the syncytium are accumulated and packed into protrusions of the apical membrane. These syncytial knots are then extruded into the maternal circulation .
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The first trimester is very important for the mother and the baby. For most women it is common to find out about their pregnancy after they have missed their menstrual cycle. Since, not all women note their menstrual cycle and dates of intercourse, it may cause slight confusion about the exact date of conception. That is why most women find out that they are pregnant only after one month of pregnancy.