Embryonic development of the Chinese hamster (Cricetulus griseus) was studied from the onset of implantation to the formation of the parietal yolk sac placenta. Implantation began on day 6 of pregnancy, when the embryo became fixed to the uterine luminal epithelium. At this time there was no zona pellucida, and microvilli of the trophoblast and uterine epithelium were closely apposed. Stromal cells immediately adjacent to the implantation chamber began to enlarge and accumulate glycogen. By day 7 the mural trophoblast penetrated the luminal epithelium in discrete areas. The trophoblast appeared to phagocytize uterine epithelial cells, although epithelium adjoining the points of penetration was normal. In other areas nascent apical protrusions from the uterine epithelium indented the surface of the trophoblast. The epiblast had enlarged and both visceral and parietal endoderm cells were present. The well‐developed decidual cells were epithelioid and completely surrounded the implantation chamber. On day 8 the uterine epithelium had disappeared along the mural surface of the embryo. The embryonic cell mass was elongated and filled the yolk sac cavity. Reichert's membrane was well developed. The uterine epithelial basal lamina was largely disrupted, and the trophoblast was in direct contact with decidual cells. Primary and secondary giant trophoblast cells were present and in contact with extravasated maternal blood. The mural trophoblast formed channels in which blood cells were found in close proximity to Reichert's membrane. Decidual cells were in contact with capillary epithelium and in some cases formed part of the vessel wall. Structural changes occurring in the embryo and endometrium during implantation in the Chinese hamster are described for the first time in this report and are compared to those described for some other myomorph rodents.
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