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Spiral artery

Spiral artery

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Spiral arteries are small arteries which temporarily supply the endometrium
Endometrium
-Function:The endometrium is the innermost glandular layer and functions as a lining for the uterus, preventing adhesions between the opposed walls of the myometrium, thereby maintaining the patency of the uterine cavity. During the menstrual cycle or estrous cycle, the endometrium grows to a...

 of the uterus
Uterus
The uterus or womb is a major female hormone-responsive reproductive sex organ of most mammals including humans. One end, the cervix, opens into the vagina, while the other is connected to one or both fallopian tubes, depending on the species...

 during the luteal phase
Luteal phase
The luteal phase is the latter phase of the menstrual cycle or the estrous cycle . It begins with the formation of the corpus luteum and ends in either pregnancy or luteolysis...

 of the menstrual cycle
Menstrual cycle
The menstrual cycle is the scientific term for the physiological changes that can occur in fertile women for the purpose of sexual reproduction. This article focuses on the human menstrual cycle....

.

In histology
Histology
Histology is the study of the microscopic anatomy of cells and tissues of plants and animals. It is performed by examining cells and tissues commonly by sectioning and staining; followed by examination under a light microscope or electron microscope...

, identifying the presence of these arteries is one of the most useful techniques in identifying the phase of the cycle.

The spiral arteries are converted for uteroplacental blood flow during pregnancy, involving:
  • Loss of smooth muscle & elastic lamina from the vessel wall.
  • 5-10 fold dilation at the mouth of the vessel.


Failure of the physiological conversion of the spiral arteries can cause a number of complications, including intrauterine growth restriction
Intrauterine growth restriction
Intrauterine growth restriction refers to poor growth of a baby while in the mother's womb during pregnancy. The causes can be many, but most often involve poor maternal nutrition or lack of adequate oxygen supply to the fetus....

 and pre-eclampsia
Pre-eclampsia
Pre-eclampsia or preeclampsia is a medical condition in which hypertension arises in pregnancy in association with significant amounts of protein in the urine....

.