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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Describe the development of blood vessels
  • Describe the fetal circulation

In a developing embryo,the heart has developed enough by day 21 post-fertilization to begin beating. Circulation patterns are clearly established by the fourth week of embryonic life. It is critical to the survival of the developing human that the circulatory system forms early to supply the growing tissue with nutrients and gases, and to remove waste products. Blood cells and vessel production in structures outside the embryo proper called the yolk sac, chorion, and connecting stalk begin about 15 to 16 days following fertilization. Development of these circulatory elements within the embryo itself begins approximately 2 days later. You will learn more about the formation and function of these early structures when you study the chapter on development. During those first few weeks, blood vessels begin to form from the embryonic mesoderm. The precursor cells are known as hemangioblasts    . These in turn differentiate into angioblasts    , which give rise to the blood vessels and pluripotent stem cells, which differentiate into the formed elements of blood. (Seek additional content for more detail on fetal development and circulation.) Together, these cells form masses known as blood islands    scattered throughout the embryonic disc. Spaces appear on the blood islands that develop into vessel lumens. The endothelial lining of the vessels arise from the angioblasts within these islands. Surrounding mesenchymal cells give rise to the smooth muscle and connective tissue layers of the vessels. While the vessels are developing, the pluripotent stem cells begin to form the blood.

Vascular tubes also develop on the blood islands, and they eventually connect to one another as well as to the developing, tubular heart. Thus, the developmental pattern, rather than beginning from the formation of one central vessel and spreading outward, occurs in many regions simultaneously with vessels later joining together. This angiogenesis    —the creation of new blood vessels from existing ones—continues as needed throughout life as we grow and develop.

Blood vessel development often follows the same pattern as nerve development and travels to the same target tissues and organs. This occurs because the many factors directing growth of nerves also stimulate blood vessels to follow a similar pattern. Whether a given vessel develops into an artery or a vein is dependent upon local concentrations of signaling proteins.

As the embryo grows within the mother’s uterus, its requirements for nutrients and gas exchange also grow. The placenta—a circulatory organ unique to pregnancy—develops jointly from the embryo and uterine wall structures to fill this need. Emerging from the placenta is the umbilical vein    , which carries oxygen-rich blood from the mother to the fetal inferior vena cava via the ductus venosus to the heart that pumps it into fetal circulation. Two umbilical arteries    carry oxygen-depleted fetal blood, including wastes and carbon dioxide, to the placenta. Remnants of the umbilical arteries remain in the adult. (Seek additional content for more information on the role of the placenta in fetal circulation.)

There are three major shunts—alternate paths for blood flow—found in the circulatory system of the fetus. Two of these shunts divert blood from the pulmonary to the systemic circuit, whereas the third connects the umbilical vein to the inferior vena cava. The first two shunts are critical during fetal life, when the lungs are compressed, filled with amniotic fluid, and nonfunctional, and gas exchange is provided by the placenta. These shunts close shortly after birth, however, when the newborn begins to breathe. The third shunt persists a bit longer but becomes nonfunctional once the umbilical cord is severed. The three shunts are as follows ( [link] ):

  • The foramen ovale    is an opening in the interatrial septum that allows blood to flow from the right atrium to the left atrium. A valve associated with this opening prevents backflow of blood during the fetal period. As the newborn begins to breathe and blood pressure in the atria increases, this shunt closes. The fossa ovalis remains in the interatrial septum after birth, marking the location of the former foramen ovale.
  • The ductus arteriosus    is a short, muscular vessel that connects the pulmonary trunk to the aorta. Most of the blood pumped from the right ventricle into the pulmonary trunk is thereby diverted into the aorta. Only enough blood reaches the fetal lungs to maintain the developing lung tissue. When the newborn takes the first breath, pressure within the lungs drops dramatically, and both the lungs and the pulmonary vessels expand. As the amount of oxygen increases, the smooth muscles in the wall of the ductus arteriosus constrict, sealing off the passage. Eventually, the muscular and endothelial components of the ductus arteriosus degenerate, leaving only the connective tissue component of the ligamentum arteriosum.
  • The ductus venosus    is a temporary blood vessel that branches from the umbilical vein, allowing much of the freshly oxygenated blood from the placenta—the organ of gas exchange between the mother and fetus—to bypass the fetal liver and go directly to the fetal heart. The ductus venosus closes slowly during the first weeks of infancy and degenerates to become the ligamentum venosum.

Fetal shunts

This figure shows the blood vessels in a fetus.
The foramen ovale in the interatrial septum allows blood to flow from the right atrium to the left atrium. The ductus arteriosus is a temporary vessel, connecting the aorta to the pulmonary trunk. The ductus venosus links the umbilical vein to the inferior vena cava largely through the liver.

Chapter review

Blood vessels begin to form from the embryonic mesoderm. The precursor hemangioblasts differentiate into angioblasts, which give rise to the blood vessels and pluripotent stem cells that differentiate into the formed elements of the blood. Together, these cells form blood islands scattered throughout the embryo. Extensions known as vascular tubes eventually connect the vascular network. As the embryo grows within the mother’s womb, the placenta develops to supply blood rich in oxygen and nutrients via the umbilical vein and to remove wastes in oxygen-depleted blood via the umbilical arteries. Three major shunts found in the fetus are the foramen ovale and ductus arteriosus, which divert blood from the pulmonary to the systemic circuit, and the ductus venosus, which carries freshly oxygenated blood high in nutrients to the fetal heart.

Questions & Answers

what is meant by control center?
Freeman Reply
what is anatomy
Ajibola Reply
is the study of the structure of the body and their relationship to each refers to the shapes iyo sizes
Khadar
what is a blastomere?
Toluba Reply
In biology, a blastomere is a type of cell produced by cleavage (cell division) of the zygote after fertilization and is an essential part of blastula formation.
Adnan
what is cell
Shivaani
Cells are the basic building blocks of all living things. The human body is composed of trillions of cells. They provide structure for the body, take in nutrients from food, convert those nutrients into energy, and carry out specialized functions. ... Cells have many parts, each with a different
Adnan
function
Adnan
cell is a membrane bound unit that contains the fundamentals molecules of life
Sushma
A1
Adnan
excellent
Adnan
movement,reproduction, excretion, respiration ,growth ,nutrition, response to external stimuli.
Sushma
good
Adnan
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Adnan
questions pushy ja sukty hy kya
Maryam
jwab forun milta hy ya ak do din k bad
Maryam
Maryam Riaz sister what you say
Adnan
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Maryam
inshallah
Adnan
zaror mere behen
Adnan
question kari
Adnan
hn mil mil sakte h na esly
Ziya
Which muscle of the gluteal region originates from lumber spine? a. Gluteus medius b. Psoas major c. Iliacus d. Gluteus maximus
Maryam
sweet sister's
Adnan
question tu kari Inshallah Allah behtar kariga
Adnan
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Maryam
answer ni mila abhi
Maryam
wait sister
Adnan
what is the functional unit of kidneys
Khadar
nephron is the functional unit of kidney
Maryam
Maryam Riaz sister option. d. gluteus maximus
Adnan
thanks
Maryam
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Adnan
option b. psoas major
Adnan
right answer this one
Adnan
nephron is the functional unit of kidney
Ihsan
I discussed with to my teachers
Adnan
d
Ihsan
d. is right option bro
Adnan
yes
Ihsan
what is cell
Shilpa
cell is the smallest unit of life
Maryam
ok
Shilpa
Cells are the basic building blocks of all living things. The human body is composed of trillions of cells. They provide structure for the body, take in nutrients from food, convert those nutrients into energy, and carry out specialized functions. ... Cells have many parts, each with a different
Adnan
function
Adnan
Maryam Riaz sister I m clear option d. also right thank you ihan bro
Adnan
type structure function origin insertion action of muscles
DAMINI Reply
oxygn amount in our body
Tg Reply
A normal level of oxygen is usually 95% or higher. Some people with chronic lung disease or sleep apnea can have normal levels around 90%. The “SpO2” reading on a pulse oximeter shows the percentage of oxygen in someone's blood
Adnan
What is the difference between cytoplasmic and endoplasmic
Ajibola Reply
The cytoplasm is 90℅ water and 10℅ of organic and inorganic compounds. The cytoplasm contains mitochondria. ... Lysosomes of Cytoplasm contains 50 different enzymes that digest proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids. The endoplasmic reticulum produces process and transport proteins, lipids for all the
Adnan
tarsal are cube shaped broad and long whiles metatarsal they are longer than they are wide
Priscilla Reply
articular cartilage serve as shock absorber and also reduces friction
Priscilla
articular cartilage serve as shock absorber and also reduces friction
Priscilla
when a bone joint with another bone
Priscilla
to know how you body function to know the relationship between the body parts to know specific functions of a certain body parts
romeo Reply
To know our body function we shd know chemical secretion of our glands, we can map all the function of our body and also relation ship between the body parts.
KUSUMA
that z it kusuma
kanaku
can you get fungi infection by seating on a public toilet?
Calls Reply
explain how blood acts as a connective tissue in the body
Rymz Reply
how does blood act as a connective tissue in the body
Rymz
what is anatomy
Victoriah Reply
fat deficiency in the body
Agbor Reply
Explain how body exercise regulates blood pressure
dranimva Reply
thank you
Thelma
what is cillia and flangella
Kalah Reply
what are the proceduers of condactive system ?
Salua Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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