The development of primordial and definitive amniotic cavities in early Rhesus monkey and human embryos

Am J Anat. 1975 Oct;144(2):149-67. doi: 10.1002/aja.1001440204.


Re-examination of early rhesus monkey and human embryos in the collection of the Carnegie Institution of Washington suggests that the mechanism of amniogenesis in both is basically similar to that of the hedgehog and vespertilionid bats. A primordial amniotic cavity develops by cavitation within the embryonic mass of 10-day rhesus monkey, and 7-day human, blastocysts. This primordial cavity has no relationship initially with the overlying trophoblast, contrary to earlier reports. Subsequently, there is a thinning and peripheral spreading of the epiblastic roof of the primordial cavity, resulting in partial opening of the roof and formation of a slightly cupped embryonic disc. The resulting space is not homologous with the primordial amniotic cavity; instead, it is a transitory tropho-epiblastic cavity. The definitive amniotic epithelium forms by the upfolding and mitotic proliferation of the margins of the epiblastic disc; this process is completed in 11-day rhesus, and 9-day human, blastocysts. Amniogenesis by cavitation is associated with the persistence of polar trophoblast following implantation, and it is suggested that this cavitation process may be essential for providing a free epithelial surface for the morphogenetic movement of epiblastic cells during subsequent formation of the primitive streak.

MeSH terms

  • Amnion / anatomy & histology*
  • Animals
  • Embryo, Mammalian / anatomy & histology
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Haplorhini
  • Humans
  • Macaca / embryology*
  • Macaca mulatta / embryology*
  • Mesoderm / anatomy & histology
  • Phylogeny
  • Species Specificity
  • Trophoblasts / anatomy & histology
  • Vitelline Membrane / anatomy & histology