Structural changes to the uterus of the dwarf ornate wobbegong shark (Orectolobus ornatus) during pregnancy

Buddle, Alice L., Otway, Nicholas M., Van Dyke, James U., Thompson, Michael B., Murphy, Christopher R., Dowland, Samson N., Simpfendorfer, Colin A., Ellis, Megan T., and Whittington, Camilla M. (2020) Structural changes to the uterus of the dwarf ornate wobbegong shark (Orectolobus ornatus) during pregnancy. Journal of Morphology, 281 (4-5). pp. 428-437.

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Abstract

Embryos of the viviparous dwarf ornate wobbegong shark (Orectolobus ornatus) develop without a placenta, unattached to the uterine wall of their mother. Here, we present the first light microscopy study of the uterus of O. ornatus throughout pregnancy. At the beginning of pregnancy, the uterine luminal epithelium and underlying connective tissue become folded to form uterine ridges. By mid to late pregnancy, the luminal surface is extensively folded and long luminal uterine villi are abundant. Compared to the nonpregnant uterus, uterine vasculature is increased during pregnancy. Additionally, as pregnancy progresses the uterine epithelium is attenuated so that there is minimal uterine tissue separating large maternal blood vessels from the fluid that surrounds developing embryos. We conclude that the uterus of O. ornatus undergoes an extensive morphological transformation during pregnancy. These uterine modifications likely support developing embryos via embryonic respiratory gas exchange, waste removal, water balance, and mineral transfer.

Item ID: 62324
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1097-4687
Keywords: chondrichthyes, lecithotrophy, morphology, reproduction, viviparity
Copyright Information: © 2020 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC Grant Number: DP1801103370
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2020 07:33
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060807 Animal Structure and Function @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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