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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 9, 2013

 
Macrophage found in the corpus luteum.


macrophage

Macrophage Internal Stucture

Britannica Online for Kids. Web. 8 July 2013
<http://kids.britannica.com/comptons/art-143720>
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WHO Child Growth Charts

 

 

 

Immune cells essential to establishing pregnancy

New research from the University of Adelaide shows for the first time that immune cells known as macrophages are critical to fertility by creating a healthy hormone environment in the uterus.

Laboratory studies led by researchers in the University's Robinson Institute have shown that macrophages play an essential role in production of the hormone progesterone, which is crucial for embryo implantation and the initiation of pregnancy.

Results of the study, which is published online today by the Journal of Clinical Investigation, could lead to new insights into how to treat infertility in women.

"Previous research has demonstrated that macrophages are prevalent in reproductive tissues, but this is the first time that their absolute necessity for pregnancy has been demonstrated," says the leader of the project team, Professor Sarah Robertson, NHMRC Principal Research Fellow and member of the University's Robinson Institute.

"Macrophages organise the development of blood vessel networks in the ovary required for production of progesterone, which is the major hormone for initiating pregnancy."


Researchers found that an insufficient number of macrophages leads to a reduced production of progesterone, which results in embryos implanting poorly — or not at all — and can end in miscarriage.


Professor Robertson: "The contribution of macrophages to the healthy vascular structure of the corpus luteum, which must develop within a matter of days to produce high levels of progesterone, was a surprise. This is the first time we have understood how pivotal macrophages are for conception and establishing pregnancy.

Environmental factors such as infection, obesity and stress all contribute to inflammatory responses and affect the generation and function of macrophages in women. This could therefore impact the macrophages' ability to support pregnancy."


However, the laboratory studies showed that treatment with progesterone could reverse the effects caused by reduced levels of macrophages.


"Insufficient progesterone is one reason for infertility in some women," Professor Robertson says. "Infertile women are now routinely provided with progesterone supplements as part of their assisted reproductive treatments, and this is also a promising therapy for recurring miscarriage."

But ultimately the researchers hope to improve fertility by more natural means. "If macrophages are shown to play the same role in women as we've seen in our laboratory studies, this gives us potential new avenues for targeting them with lifestyle and nutritional intervention, improving fertility by advancing the quality of the conception environment."

Original press release:http://www.adelaide.edu.au/news/news62701.html