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Placentation and fetal membrane development in the South American coati, Nasua nasua (Mammalia, Carnivora, Procyonidae)


Placental research in carnivores has concentrated on domestic species, which have zonary, labyrinthine placentas with an endotheliochorial barrier. Although the coati,Nasua nasua, is a widely distributedspecies in South America, data on the development of the placenta and the fetal membranes in this species are very sparse. Four placentas from mid-gestation to near term were collected from wild individuals and were investigated based on gross morphology, histology, immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy. The available data supportthe concept that the ancestral condition of placentation in carnivores is phylogenetically characterized by a zonary and labyrinthine placental type with an endotheliochorial fetomaternal barrier, comprising extended epitheliochorial and haemochorial zones, such as hemophagous organs for iron supply and histiotrophe uptake and a yolk sac placenta. Because of the foundational mechanisms that lead to the considerable complexity of fetomaternal contact zones in carnivores have not been studied, carnivores are interesting animal models for interhaemal barrier differentiation. (AU)

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