Pelvic reproductive structures

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Development

  • state the origin of the cells that contribute to the formation of the genital ridges
  • name the factors that influence whether a male of female reproductive tract will be formed
  • describe the formation and name the components of the "indifferent" gonad, genital ducts and external genitalia
  • outline the changes that occur following the "indifferent" stages of development which lead to the formation of the definitive male and female gonads, reproductive tracts and external genitalia
  • describe the descent of the testis into the scrotum and explain what prevents ovary from descending to the same extent
  • explain the following in terms of abnormal development of the reproductive tract - bicornuate uterus, imperforate hymen, congenital indirect hernia, hypospadias


Female

Sagittal section of the lower part of a female trunk, right segment.

Objectives

  • describe the structure, general function and location of the uterus, uterine tubes, ovaries and vagina
  • state the changes that occur in the position and size of the uterus during the life cycle and during pregnancy
  • name the structures that support and stabilize the uterus and vagina
  • define the term broad ligament and name its parts and contents
  • outline the arterial supply, venous and lymphatic drainage and innervation of the reproductive organs

Vessels

Arteries

The arteries form an anastomosing network derived mainly from the ovarian and uterine arteries. Each ovarian artery arises from the abdominal aorta and enters the broad ligament through the suspensory ligament, where it supplies the ovary via the mesovarium. Also, something something vaginal artery.

Veins

Most veins form anastomosing plexuses along the walls of the uterine tubes, uterus and vagina. The plexuses drain into veins that enter either the internal iliac vein (e.g., uterine veins) or the inferior vena cava (e.g., ovarian veins).

Lymphatics

For the most part, the lymphatics accompany blood vessels. Those receiving lymph from the ovaries, uterine tubes, fundus and upper part of the body of the uterus drain to para-aortic (lumbar) nodes (accompanying the ovarian vessels). Lymphatics from the rest of the body of the uterus, cervix and upper vagina drain mainly to internal and external iliac nodes and to sacral nodes In addition, some lymphatics from the uterus may travel with the round ligament, through the inguinal canal, to superficial inguinal nodes. Lymphatics from the lower part of the vagina drain to superficial inguinal nodes along with lymphatics from other parts of the vulva.

Innervation

Innervation is mainly autonomic, via the hypogastric plexus. The motor nerves to the uterus appear to be mainly vasomotor (the denervated uterus is still capable of contraction), while those to the vagina control contraction of the smooth muscle in its walls. The afferent nerves from the uterus, uterine tubes and upper vagina travel mainly with sympathetic nerves via the hypogastric plexus, while some also pass to the sacral spinal cord via the pelvic splanchnic nerves. The somatic innervation of the lower part of the vagina is via the pudendal nerve.


Development

Histology

  • list the main features of the cortex and medulla of the ovary
  • list the steps involved in the development and maturation of ovarian follicles
  • prepare a labeled diagram of a Graafian follicle
  • describe the process of ovulation and fertilization
  • describe the derivation, structure and function of the corpus luteum
  • distinguish between an atretic follicle and a corpus albicans
  • describe the main histological features and functions of the oviduct
  • list the main features of the cortex and medulla of the ovary


  • list the steps involved in the development and maturation of ovarian follicles
  • prepare a labeled diagram of a Graafian follicle
  • describe the process of ovulation and fertilization
  • describe the derivation, structure and function of the corpus luteum
  • distinguish between an atretic follicle and a corpus albicans
  • describe the main histological features and functions of the oviduct

Male

For basic structures, functions and locations, see testes, epididymis, vas deferens, seminal vesicles, prostate gland, penis and ejaculatory ducts

Lymphatics

Those draining the prostate gland, seminal vesicles and vas deferens travel with those from the neck of the bladder to internal iliac and sacral nodes Those from the testes travel with the testicular vessels to para-aortic nodes.

Vessels

Arteries

Branches from the internal iliac arteries, particularly the inferior vesical artery, supply the prostate gland, seminal vesicles and vas deferens. As the testes descend from the abdomen, they drag their blood supply with them. Hence, each testicular artery arises from the abdominal aorta, and passes through the inguinal canal, to become part of the spermatic cord. The penis receives its main blood supply from the internal pudendal artery, a branch of the internal iliac arteries.

Veins

The veins draining the prostate gland form a prostatic plexus which lies within the prostatic sheath. The plexus receives the deep dorsal vein of the penis (drains the erectile tissue), before emptying into the internal iliac vein, via the vesical venous plexus and inferior vesical veins. The veins of the seminal vesicles and pelvic part of the vas deferens drain directly into the vesical venous plexus. The veins draining the testis form a plexus (pampiniform plexus) in the spermatic cord. A single testicular vein emerges from the plexus which accompanies the testicular artery, and empties into the inferior vena cava (the left one draining via the left renal vein)

Innervation

The innervation is entirely autonomic. The sympathetic supply to the prostate gland, seminal vesicles and vas deferens causes contraction of the muscles in the walls of the organs during sexual stimulation and ejaculation.

Histology

Objectives

  • describe the general organization of a seminiferous tubule.
  • define the terms spermatogenesis and spermiogenesis.
  • explain the relationship between spermatogonia, spermatocytes, and spermatids.
  • describe the structure and role of Sertoli cells.
  • list steps involved in spermiogenesis.
  • explain the location and function of Leydig cell.
  • compare the histological features of efferent tubules, epididmys and vas deferens.
  • describe the general histology of the prostate gland.
  • explain the structures involved in penile erection.


  • describe the general organization of a seminiferous tubule.
  • The testis is enclosed by a dense connective tissue capsule (Tunica albuginea) and contains 250-300 lobules with one to four seminiferous tubules each
  • define the terms spermatogenesis and spermiogenesis.
  • explain the relationship between spermatogonia, spermatocytes, and spermatids.
  • describe the structure and role of Sertoli cells.
  • list steps involved in spermiogenesis.
  • explain the location and function of Leydig cell.
  • compare the histological features of efferent tubules, epididmys and vas deferens.
  • explain the structures involved in penile erection.

Development

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