International Journal of Developmental Biology
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Implantation of the embryo into the uterus triggers the initiation of hemochorial placentation. The hemochorial placenta facilitates the acquisition of maternal resources required for embryo/fetal growth. Uterine spiral arteries form the nutrient supply line for the placenta and fetus. This vascular conduit undergoes gestation stage-specific remodeling directed by maternal natural killer cells and embryo-derived invasive trophoblast lineages. The placentation site, including remodeling of the uterine spiral arteries, is shaped by environmental challenges. In this review, we discuss the cellular participants controlling pregnancy-dependent uterine spiral artery remodeling and mechanisms responsible for their development and function. © 2014 UBC Press.