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

Broad ligament

  • A sheet of visceral peritoneum which drapes over the uterus and uterine tubes
  • Laterally, it is continuous with the peritoneum of the lateral pelvic wall
  • The ovary is not covered by peritoneum, but is attached to the posterior surface of the broad ligament by a peritoneal sleeve, called the mesovarium, which conveys the ovarian blood vessels and lymphatics
  • The ovarian vessels form a fold in the lateral part of the broad ligament known as the suspensory ligament of the ovary
  • The round ligament (of the uterus) and (round) ligament of the ovary are also contained within the broad ligament
  • The part of the broad ligament between the mesovarium and uterine tube is sometimes referred to as the mesosalpinx and that immediately lateral to the uterus is known as the mesometrium

Vessels

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
  • It supplies the ovary via the mesovarium
  • Uterine artery
    • leaves the internal iliac artery
    • runs deep to the peritoneum at the base of the broad ligament, to the lateral wall of the uterus
    • Divides into a descending, vaginal branch, to the cervix and vagina, and a larger, ascending, uterine branch, which passes along the body of the uterus and uterine tube, giving branches to both, before anastomosing with terminal branches of the ovarian artery
  • Vaginal artery
    • A separate branch of the internal iliac artery
    • may also supply the lower cervix and vagina

Veins

  • most 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, they 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

  • 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

Basics

Lymphatics

Vessels

Arteries

  • branches from the internal iliac artery, 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 branch of the internal iliac artery

Veins

  • those 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

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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