An index of syncytial growth in normal and complicated pregnancies

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      Two hundred and ninety-five placentas from normal and complicated pregnancies were studied by phase contrast microscopy. Syncytial sprouts were counted and their number per 100 villi established in each case as a Sprout-Villus Index (S.V.I.). By plotting these as a function of gestational age on semilogarithmic graph paper, a cone-shaped normal zone was determined. Hypoplasia and hyperplasia of the syncytium are here defined as a S.V.I. below or above, respectively, the normal zone at a given gestational age. Several aspects of normal and abnormal syncytial growth are discussed. It is also suggested that syncytial growth rate rather than the presence or absence of syncytium is responsible for the level of HCG in normal and abnormal pregnancies as well as in hydatidiform mole and choriocarcinoma.
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