For the chorion in invertebrate eggs, see Chorion (egg).
Diagram showing earliest observed stage of human embryo.
Human fetus, enclosed in the amnion.
Gray's subject #12 60
MeSH Chorion
Code TE E5.
For the entertainment company see Chorion (company).

The chorion is one of the membranes that exist during pregnancy between the developing fetus and mother. It is formed by extraembryonic mesoderm and the two layers of trophoblast and surrounds the embryo and other membranes. The chorionic villi emerge from the chorion, invade the endometrium, and allow transfer of nutrients from maternal blood to fetal blood.



The chorion consists of two layers: an outer formed by the trophoblast, and an inner formed by the somatic mesoderm; the amnion is in contact with the latter.

The trophoblast is made up of an internal layer of cubical or prismatic cells, the cytotrophoblast or layer of Langhans, and an external layer of richly nucleated protoplasm devoid of cell boundaries, the syncytiotrophoblast.


The chorion undergoes rapid proliferation and forms numerous processes, the chorionic villi, which invade and destroy the uterine decidua and at the same time absorb from it nutritive materials for the growth of the embryo.

The chorionic villi are at first small and non-vascular, and consist of the trophoblast only, but they increase in size and ramify, whereas the mesoderm, carrying branches of the umbilical vessels, grows into them, and, in this way, are vascularized.

Blood is carried to the villi by the paired umbilical arteries, which branch into chorionic arteries and enter the chorionic villi as cotyledon arteries. After circulating through the capillaries of the villi, the blood is returned to the embryo by the umbilical veins. Until about the end of the second month of pregnancy, the villi cover the entire chorion, and are almost uniform in size; but, after this, they develop unequally.


The part of the chorion that is in contact with the decidua capsularis undergoes atrophy, so that by the fourth month scarcely a trace of the villi is left. This part of the chorion becomes smooth, and is named the chorion laeve (from the Latin word levis, meaning smooth). As it takes no share in the formation of the placenta, this is also named the non-placental part of the chorion. As the chorion grows, the chorion laeve comes in contact with the decidua parietalis and these layers fuse.

On the other hand, the villi at the embryonic pole, which is in contact with the decidua basalis, increase greatly in size and complexity, and hence this part is named the chorion frondosum.

Thus the placenta develops from the chorion frondosum and the decidua basalis.

Monochorionic twins

Monochorionic twins are twins that share the same placenta. It occurs in 0.3% of all pregnancies,[1] and in 75% of monozygotic (identical) twins, when the split takes place after the third day after fertilization.[2] The remaining 25% of monozygous twins become dichorionic diamniotic.[2] The condition may affect any type of multiple birth, resulting in monochorionic multiples.

Additional images

See also


  1. ^ Cordero L, Franco A, Joy SD, O'shaughnessy RW (December 2005). "Monochorionic diamniotic infants without twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome". Journal of Perinatology 25 (12): 753–8. doi:10.1038/ PMID 16281049. 
  2. ^ a b Shulman, Lee S.; van Vugt, John M. G. (2006). Prenatal medicine. Washington, DC: Taylor & Francis. p. 447. ISBN 0-8247-2844-0. 

External links

This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained within it may be outdated.

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  • chorion — [ kɔrjɔ̃ ] n. m. • 1541; gr. khorion 1 ♦ Biol. Membrane extérieure de l embryon des mammifères qui assure un contact intime avec la muqueuse utérine et joue un rôle dans la nutrition de l embryon. 2 ♦ Histol. Couche superficielle, hérissée de… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Chorĭon [2] — Chorĭon (gr.), 1) Feld, Grundstück; daher Chorin dike, Klage, wegen Wegnahme od. widerrechtlicher Benutzung eines Feldes; 2) Bergfeste, Castell; so Chorion Kainon, Bergfeste im Innern von Pontos, wohin Mithridates seine Schätze flüchtete;… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • chorion — [kôr′ē än΄] n. [ModL < Gr chorion, fetal membrane: for IE base see YARN] 1. the outermost of the two membranes that completely envelop a fetus 2. the outer membrane or shell of the eggs of insects and other invertebrates chorionic [kôr′ēän′ik] …   English World dictionary

  • Chorion — Cho ri*on, n. [NL., fr. Gr. ?.] 1. (Anat.) (a) The outer membrane which invests the fetus in the womb; also, the similar membrane investing many ova at certain stages of development. (b) The true skin, or cutis. [1913 Webster] 2. (Bot.) The outer …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • chorion — chorion. См. хорион. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

  • Chorĭon [1] — Chorĭon (gr., lat. Corium, Anat.), 1) eigentlich Haut, Leder, Lederhaut, s. Haut; 2) Ei od. Schalenhaut, äußerste Begrenzung des Eies, Anfangs rund, durchsichtig glatt (Ch. laeve, Ch. pellucĭdum); mit Vergrößerung des Eichens wird das Ch. zottig… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Chorĭon — (griech., lat. corium), Haut, Leder, die äußere Eischale, bei den höhern Wirbeltieren die äußerste Hülle des Embryos. S. Allantois und Ei …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Chorion — Chorĭon (grch.; lat. Corĭum), Lederhaut, mittlere Eihaut des Embryos …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Chorion — Chorion, Haut, die Hülle der Leibesfrucht mit Ausschluß der innersten der Schafhaut (vergl. Amnion, Embryo, Fötus) …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Chorion — Chorion, 1) von Follikelzellen gebildete sekundäre Eihülle des Insekteneies; 2) vom Trophoblasten gebildetes embryonales Ernährungsorgan der Placentatiere, das der Gebärmutterschleimhaut anliegt, Ausstülpungen (Zotten) bildet, mit diesen in die… …   Deutsch wörterbuch der biologie

  • chorion — CHORION. s. m. Terme d Anatomie. Nom d une des membranes du foetus …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

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