The development of large intestine during the fetal period

Early Hum Dev. 2004 Jun;78(1):1-13. doi: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2004.03.001.


Objective: The aim of this study is to determine the colon types, developmental change of the colon morphology during the fetal period.

Methods: The study was realised on 131 human fetuses (male 69, female 62) ages between 10 and 40 weeks, which have no external pathology and anomalies. The colon types were evaluated in two parts. As the first part, the colon part between the ileal orifice and sigmoid colon was typed. The sigmoid colon was typed as the second part. The macroscopic diameters of parts of the colon and the thicknesses of wall layers of ascending and descending colons were measured under the light microscope.

Results: For the proximal part of the colon, there were seven types of colon, and there were five types for the sigmoid colon. For the first part, transverse type colon was a rare type during the fetal period (3%). The oblique type colon was observed mostly in the first and second trimester during the fetal period. Adult type colon was the most common type in the third trimester and full-term groups. The pendulous type colon was observed mostly in the third trimester. The development of the haustra and tenia coli in the first trimester was quite slow, but later the development increased more and more, and during the full-term period, the haustra and tenia coli could be seen clearly.

Conclusion: The percentage distribution of the colon types between the trimesters was significant. It was observed that the maturation of haustra and tenia coli started from the ascending colon and progressed towards the sigmoid colon. The thickness of the tunica mucosa layer both in the ascending and in descending colon part increased considerably in the middle of the second trimester.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cecum / embryology
  • Colon / embryology*
  • Colon, Ascending / embryology
  • Colon, Descending / embryology
  • Colon, Sigmoid / embryology
  • Colon, Transverse / embryology
  • Female
  • Gestational Age*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / embryology
  • Male