In the present study, a cell maceration/scanning electron microscopy method is employed in order to reveal the three-dimensional organization of the collagen fibrils in the Wharton's jelly of the human umbilical cord at term. By this method the jelly appears as a three-dimensional network of collagen fibrils that runs continuously from the amniotic membrane to the umbilical vessels. A diverse architecture of the collagen fibrillar network in the inner and outer region of the cord is observed suggesting an anatomical as well as a functional compartmentalization. In fact, the network is soft in the inner part and it is characterized by canalicular structures whereas in the outer region the collagen is dense and the network is characteristically composed by a sponge-like system of cavernous spaces. It is suggested that these cavities might store the ground substance and allow its diffusion during twisting or compression of the cord. Furthermore they may facilitate the flow of metabolites throughout the jelly from and to the umbilical vessels and the amniotic cavity.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Italian journal of anatomy and embryology = Archivio italiano di anatomia ed embriologia|
|Volume||100 Suppl 1|
|Publication status||Published - 1995|
ASJC Scopus subject areas