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The haemodynamics of the human placenta in utero

Dellschaft, Neele S.; Hutchinson, George; Shah, Simon; Jones, Nia W.; Bradley, Chris; Leach, Lopa; Platt, Craig; Bowtell, Richard; Gowland, Penny A.

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George Hutchinson

Simon Shah

Professor in Vascular Biology

Craig Platt


Masahito Ikawa


© 2020 Dellschaft et al. We have used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to provide important new insights into the function of the human placenta in utero. We have measured slow net flow and high net oxygenation in the placenta in vivo, which are consistent with efficient delivery of oxygen from mother to fetus. Our experimental evidence substantiates previous hypotheses on the effects of spiral artery remodelling in utero and also indicates rapid venous drainage from the placenta, which is important because this outflow has been largely neglected in the past. Furthermore, beyond Braxton Hicks contractions, which involve the entire uterus, we have identified a new physiological phenomenon, the 'utero-placental pump', by which the placenta and underlying uterine wall contract independently of the rest of the uterus, expelling maternal blood from the intervillous space.


Dellschaft, N. S., Hutchinson, G., Shah, S., Jones, N. W., Bradley, C., Leach, L., …Gowland, P. A. (2020). The haemodynamics of the human placenta in utero. PLoS Biology, 18(5), Article e3000676.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 27, 2020
Online Publication Date May 28, 2020
Publication Date May 28, 2020
Deposit Date May 6, 2020
Publicly Available Date May 28, 2020
Journal PLoS Biology
Print ISSN 1544-9173
Electronic ISSN 1545-7885
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 5
Article Number e3000676
Keywords General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology; General Immunology and Microbiology; General Neuroscience; General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Dellschaft NS, Hutchinson G, Shah S, Jones NW, Bradley C, Leach L, et al. (2020) The haemodynamics of the human placenta in utero. PLoS Biol 18(5): e3000676.


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