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Welcome to The Visible Embryo, a comprehensive educational resource on human development from conception to birth.

The Visible Embryo provides visual references for changes in fetal development throughout pregnancy and can be navigated via fetal development or maternal changes.

The National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development awarded Phase I and Phase II Small Business Innovative Research Grants to develop The Visible Embryo. Initally designed to evaluate the internet as a teaching tool for first year medical students, The Visible Embryo is linked to over 600 educational institutions and is viewed by more than one million visitors each month.

Today, The Visible Embryo is linked to over 600 educational institutions and is viewed by more than 1 million visitors each month. The field of early embryology has grown to include the identification of the stem cell as not only critical to organogenesis in the embryo, but equally critical to organ function and repair in the adult human. The identification and understanding of genetic malfunction, inflammatory responses, and the progression in chronic disease, begins with a grounding in primary cellular and systemic functions manifested in the study of the early embryo.

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Pregnancy Timeline by SemestersFetal liver is producing blood cellsHead may position into pelvisBrain convolutions beginFull TermWhite fat begins to be madeWhite fat begins to be madeHead may position into pelvisImmune system beginningImmune system beginningPeriod of rapid brain growthBrain convolutions beginLungs begin to produce surfactantSensory brain waves begin to activateSensory brain waves begin to activateInner Ear Bones HardenBone marrow starts making blood cellsBone marrow starts making blood cellsBrown fat surrounds lymphatic systemFetal sexual organs visibleFinger and toe prints appearFinger and toe prints appearHeartbeat can be detectedHeartbeat can be detectedBasic Brain Structure in PlaceThe Appearance of SomitesFirst Detectable Brain WavesA Four Chambered HeartBeginning Cerebral HemispheresFemale Reproductive SystemEnd of Embryonic PeriodEnd of Embryonic PeriodFirst Thin Layer of Skin AppearsThird TrimesterSecond TrimesterFirst TrimesterFertilizationDevelopmental Timeline
CLICK ON weeks 0 - 40 and follow along every 2 weeks of fetal development
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Home | Pregnancy Timeline | News Alerts | News Archive July 2, 2013

 
autophagosones
Autophagosones

Tiny vesicles (exosomes) within all cells collect cellular debri and recycle it — phagocytosis

Within trophoblast cells, this study has revealed a unique set of microRNAs that
stimulate an immunity to viral infection. Thus, contributing to the protection
of the baby from viruses within the mother.







WHO Child Growth Charts

 

 

 

How placental cells may prevent viruses from passing from mother to baby

Cells of the placenta have a unique ability to prevent viruses from crossing from an expectant mother to her growing baby and can transfer that trait to other kinds of cells.

It is imperative that the fetus be protected from infections from its mother in order to develop, says Yoel Sadovsky, MD, study senior investigator. This new work sheds light on how the placenta fights viral infections during pregnancy.

Published in the early online version of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


"Our findings reveal some of the complex and elegant mechanisms human placental cells, called trophoblasts, have evolved to keep viruses from infecting cells. We hope that we can learn from this to devise new therapies against viral infections."

Yoel Sadovsky, MD, Elsie Hilliard Hillman Chair of  Women's Health Research, professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicinee and Magee-Womens Research Institute (MWRI) director, and co-senior investigator of the study


Dr. Sadovsky's co-senior investigator was Carolyn Coyne, PhD, associate professor, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Pitt, and MWRI member.

Unlike non-placental cells, trophoblasts are resistant to viral infection, but this is not due to an inability of viruses to enter trophoblast cells. Researchers observed that when other non-placental cells, such as blood vessels, were transferred into the medium in which the trophoblasts were cultured, they too became resistant to viral infection. However, when the medium was exposed to sonication, or sound waves, viral resistance was no longer transferred.

The scientists took a closer look at the trophoblast exosomes—tiny spheres containing microRNAs that induce autophagy, the mechanism by which cells recycle useless intra-cellular components. It appears that placental trophoblast cells use exosomes to transfer a unique set of miRNAs to stimulate an immunity to viral infections.


"Our results suggest this pathway could be a powerful evolutionary adaptation to protect the fetus and mother from viral invaders. We might be able to use these microRNAs to reduce the risk of viral infection in other cells outside of pregnancy, or perhaps to treat diseases where enhancing autophagy would be beneficial."

Carolyn Coyne, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Pitt and MWRI member


Co-authors include other researchers from Pitt's MWRI, the departments of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, Cell Biology and Physiology, and Surgery, and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

The project was funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Health Research, the National Institutes of Health grants HD065893, HD071707, AI081759, and HD075665, and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

About the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
As one of the nation's leading academic centers for biomedical research, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine integrates advanced technology with basic science across a broad range of disciplines in a continuous quest to harness the power of new knowledge and improve the human condition. Driven mainly by the School of Medicine and its affiliates, Pitt has ranked among the top 10 recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health since 1998. In rankings recently released by the National Science Foundation, Pitt ranked fifth among all American universities in total federal science and engineering research and development support.

Likewise, the School of Medicine is equally committed to advancing the quality and strength of its medical and graduate education programs, for which it is recognized as an innovative leader, and to training highly skilled, compassionate clinicians and creative scientists well-equipped to engage in world-class research. The School of Medicine is the academic partner of UPMC, which has collaborated with the University to raise the standard of medical excellence in Pittsburgh and to position health care as a driving force behind the region's economy. For more information about the School of Medicine, see http://www.medschool.pitt.edu.

About Magee-Womens Research Institute & Foundation
Established in 1992, MWRI is an independent research institute and one of the largest institutes in the nation that focuses on reproductive biology, women's health, and infants' health. MWRI's researchers use a variety of basic, translational, and clinical investigative tools that support their central mission to: advance scientific knowledge in the fields of reproductive biology and medicine; translate this knowledge into improved health care for women and infants; train current and future scholars of reproductive medicine; and foster community investment and involvement in women's health. http://www.upmc.com/media

Original press release: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-07/uops-pcm062813.php