Development of Male and Female Reproductive System

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Development of Male and Female Reproductive System
Development of Male and
Female Reproductive
Petek Korkusuz MD PhD
• To learn the development and
congenital abnormalities of both
male and female genital system
Learning Goals
• To learn the development and congenital
abnormalities of testes and the ovaries
• To learn the sex determination
• To learn the development and congenital
abnormalities of genital ducts
• To learn the development and congenital
abnormalities of external genitalia
Development of genital
• Genetic sex is established
at fertilization by the kind
of sperm that fertilizes the
• The gonads begin to
attain sexual
characteristics from 7th
• Early genital systems in
two sexes are similar; this
initial period is called
indifferent state of sexual
Genital System
• Gonads (primitive
sex glands)
• Genital ducts
• External genitalia
İndifferent stage
Development of gonads (testes
and ovaries)
• The mesothelium
epithelium) lining the
posterior abdominal
• The underlying
(embryonic connective
• The primordial germ
Indifferent gonads
• During the 5th week a
thickened area of
mesothelium develops on
the medial side of the
mesonephros: a pair of
gonadal(genital) ridges
• Finger-like epithelial cords
(gonadal cords) grow into
the underlying mesenchyme
• The indifferent gonad now
consists of an external
cortex and an internal
• If the embryo is XX: cortex
will differentiate into an
ovary, medulla regress
• If the embryo is XY medulla
differentiates into a testis,
cortex regress except for
vestigial remnants
Primordial germ cells
• Large spherical sex cells
are visible early in the 4th
week among the
endodermal cells of the
yolk sac near the origin of
the allantois
• During folding of the
embryo dorsal part of the
yolksac is incorporated into
• Thus the primordial germ
cells migrate along the
dorsal mesentery of the
hindgut to the gonadal
• During 6th week primordial
germ cells enter the
underlying mesenchyme
and are incorporated in the
gonadal cords.
Sex determination
• Chromosomal and genetic sex is
established at fertilization
• The type of gonads that develop
is determined by the sex
chromosome complex of the
embryo (XX or XY)
• Before 7th week gonads of 2
sexes are identical (indifferent
• Male phenotype requires Y
chromosome (SRY-sex
determining region on Y gene)
for a testis determining factorTDF.
• Female phenotype requires two
X chromosomes with a number
of genes
• The Y chromosome has a testis
determining effect on the
medulla of indifferent cords .
TDF (regulated by Y chrom)
differentiate the gonadal cords
into primordia of seminiferous
• Absence of a Y chromosome
(XX sex chrom) results in the
formation of the ovary
• Types of present gonads
determines the type of sexual
differentiation of the genital
ducts and external genitalia.
• Testosterone produced by the
fetal testes determines
• Primary female sexual
differentiation does not depend
on hormones; occurs even if
the ovaries are absent
(depending possibly on an
autosomal gene)
Abnormal sex chromosome
• Number of X chromosome appears to be
unimportant in sex determination
• If a normal Y chromosome is present the embryo
develops as a male. If Y chromosome or its testis
determining region is absent female development
Turner syndrome (45X)
Congenital malformations:Determination of
fetal sex
• Ambiguous genitalia: if there is normalsexual
differentiation, int and ext genitalia are consistent with the
chromosome complement
• True hermaphroditism: having ovarian and testicular tissue
either in the same or opposite gonads (70 % are 46 XX, 20
% 46 XX/46 XY mosaicism, 10 % 46XY)
• Female pseudohermaphroditism: 46 XX, having ovaries,
resulting from the exposure from excessive androgens of
female fetus. Virilization of ext genitalia occurs. Common
cause is congenital adrenal hyperplasia, rare cause may be
maternal masculinizing tumor.
• Male pseudohermaphroditism: 46XY having testis, with no
sex chromatin. Int and ext genitalia are varible caused by
inadequate production of testosterone and MIF by testes.
Female pseudohermaphroditism (caused by
congenital adrenal hyperplasia)
Congenital malformations:Determination of
fetal sex
• Androgen insensitivity syndrome (testicular feminization):
Normal appearing females with the presence of testes and
46XY chromosomes. They are medically and legally female.
There is resistambce to the action fo testosterone at the
cellular receptor
• Mixed gonadal dysgenesis: very rare, having chromatin
negative nuclei (sex chromatin negative), a testis on one
side, an undifferentiated gonad on the other side. The int
genitalia are female, but may have male derivatives. The
ext genitalia may vary from female to male.
Androgen insensitivity syndrome
(testicular feminization):46XY
Development of testes
• TDF induces the gonadal cords (seminiferous cords) to
condense and extend into the medulla of the indifferent gonad;
where they branch and anastamose to form the rete testis.
• A dense layer of fibrous CT (tunica albuginea) separates the
testis cords from the surface epithelium
• In the 4th month testis cords become horseshoe shaped; their
extremities are continous with those of the rete testis
• Testis cords are now composed of primitive germ cells and
sustentacular cells of Sertoli derived from the surface
epithelium of the gland
Development of testes
• Interstitial cells of Leydig
derived from the original
mesenchyme of the
gonadal ridge begin
development shortly after
onset of differention of
these cords
• Leydig cells lie between
the testis cords and begin
testosterone production by
8th week of gestation
• Thus the testis is able to
influence sexual
differentiation of the
genital ducts and ext
Development of testes
• Testis cords remain solid
untill puberty; when they
are canalyzed forming
seminiferous tubules
• Thus they join rete testis
tubules, which in turn
enter the ductuli efferentes
which are the remaining
parts of the excretory
tubules of the mesonephric
• They link the rete testis
and the mesonephric or
wolffian duct which
becomes ductus defferens
Development of ovaries
• Gonadal development occurs slowly in female
• In XX embryo primitive sex cords dissociate into irregular
cell clusters containing groups of primitive germ cells in the
medullary part of ovary
• Later they disappear and are replaced by a vascular stroma
thet forms the ovarian medulla
Development of ovaries
• Surface epithelium of the
female gonad (unlike that of
the male) continues to
proliferate giving rise to a
second generation of cords
(cortical cords) in the 7th
• Cortical cords penetrate the
underlying mesenchyme but
remain close to the surface
• In the 4th month cortical
cords split into isolated cell
clusters with each
surrounding one or more
primitive germ cells
• Germ cells develop into
oogonia, surrounding
epithelial cells, descendants
of the surface epithelium
form follicular cells.
Development of genital ducts:
Indifferent stage
• At the begining both male and female embryos have 2 pairs of genital
– Mesonephric (wolffian) ducts
– Paramesonephric (mülerian) ducts arising as a longitudinal
invagination of the epithelium on the antlat surface of the
urohenital ridge
• Two ducts are separated by a septum but later fuse to form the uterine
• The caudal tip of the combined ducts projects into the posterior wall of
the urogenital sinus causing a swelling (paramesonephric/müllerian
• The mesonephric ducts open into the urogenital sinus an either side of
the müllerian tubercle
Development of genital ducts:
Indifferent stage
7th week
9th week
Molecular regulation of male
genital duct development
SRY is a transcription factor and the master
gene for testes development; possibly acting in
conjunction with the autosomal gene SOX9 a
transcription regulator also inducing testes
SOX9 binds the promoter region of the gene
for antimullerian hormone/mullerian inhibiting
substance (AMH, MIH) regulating this genes
At the begining SRY and/or SOX9 induce the
testes to secrete FGF-9 acting as a chemotactic
factor that causes tubules from the
mesonephric duct to penetrate the gonadal
Without penetration by these tubules
differentiation of the testes does not continue.
Next SRY directly or indirectly through SOX9
upregulates production of stetoidogenesis
factor-1 (SF-1) that stimulates differention of
Sertoli and Leydig cells. SF1 with SOX9
increase AMH leading to regression of the
paramesonephric (mullerian)ducts.
SF1 upregulates the genes for enzymes that
synthesize testosterone
Other genes
Molecular regulation of female
genital duct development
• WNT4 is the ovary determining
gene; upregulating DAX1 which
is a member of the nuclear
hormone receptor family
• DAX1 inhibits the function of
• WNT regulates expression of
other genes (TAFII105....TATA
binding protein for RNA
polimerase in ovarian follicular
cells) responsible for ovarian
• Mice that do not synthesize that
subunit do not form ovaries
• Estrogens are involves in sexual
differentiation; under their
influence paramesonephric
(mullerian) ducts are stimulated
to form ext genitalia
Other genes
Genital duct development in
• Mesonephros regress; a
few excretory tubules
(epigenital tubules)
establish contact with
cords of the rete testis
and finally form efferent
ductules of the testis.
• Excretory tubules along
the caudal pole of the
testis (paragenital
tubules) do not join the
cords of the rete testis;
their vestiges are named
Genital duct development in male
• Mesonephric ducts persist and form the main genital ducts except for
the most cranial portion (appendix epididymis)
• Mesonephric duct elongate, become highly convoluted forming the
ductus epididymis immediately below the entrance of the efferent
• Mesonephric ducts obtain a thick muscular coat and form ductus
deferens (from the tail of the epididymis to the outbudding of the
seminal vesicle)
• The region of the ducts beyond the seminal vesicles is the
ejaculatorius duct.
• The paramesonephric ducts degenerate except for a small portion at
their cranial ends (appendix testis)
Female ducts in males
• If testes fail to develop (agonadal males), similar
development of mesonephric ducts occurs in
males, because of the absence of MIS
Development of male
genital glands
• A lateral outgrowth from th
caudal end of each
mesonephric duct gives rise
to seminal vesicle/gland
• Multiple endodermal
outgrowths arising from the
prostatic part of urethra grow
into the surrounding
mesenchyme and differentiate
into prostate glandular
epithelium; mesenchyme
differntiate into prostatic
• Bulbourethral glands develop
from paired outhgrowths from
the spongy part of urethra
Genital duct development in
• Paramesonephric ducts
develop into the main
genital ducts
• Initially 3 parts can be
recognized in each duct:
 Cranial vertical portion that
opens into the abdominal
cavity....develop into
uterine tube
 Horizontal part that crosses
the mesonephric
duct...develop into uterine
 Caudal vertical part that
fuses with its partner from
the opposite side...fuse to
form uterine canal
Genital duct development in female
• Second part of the paramesonephric ducts move medio-caudally;
urogenital ridges gradually come to lie in a transvers plane
• The ducts fuse in the midline; a broad transverse pelvic fold
(broad ligament of uterus) is established. The uterine tube lies in
its upper border and the ovary lies on its posterior surface
• Uterus and broad ligs divide the pelvic cavity into uterorectal
pouch and the uterovesical pouch
• Fused paramesonephric ducts differentiate into corpus and cervix
of the uterus. They are surrounded by a layer of mesenchyme that
forms the myometrium and the perimetrium
Early development of uterus and
the ovaries
Development of vagina
• After the solid tip of the
mesonephric ucts reaches
the urogenital sinus; two
solid evaginations
(sinovaginal bulbs) grow out
from the pelvic part of the
• Sinovaginal bulbs proliferate
and form a solid vaginal
• Proliferation continues at
the cranial end of the plate;
increasing the distance
between the uterus and the
urogenital sinus.
• By the 5th month vaginal
outgrowth is entirely
canalized. Vaginal fornices
(wing-like expansions of the
vagina around the end of
uterus) are of
paramesonephric origin
Development of vagina
• Thus the vagina has two
– upper portion derived
from the uterine canal
– lower portion derived from
the urogenital sinus
• Lumen of the vagina
remains separated from
that of the urogenital sinus
by a thin tissue plate; the
• Hymen consists of
epithelial lining of the sinus
and a thin layer of vaginal
cells. It usualy develops an
opening during perinatal
Remnants of the ducts in female
• Remnants of the cranial
and caudal excretory
tubules in the mesovarium
form the epoophoron and
paroophoron respectively
• Mesonephric duct
disappear except for a
small cranial portion found
in the epoophoron and a
small caudal portion in the
wall of uterus or vagina
(Gartner’s cyst)
Congenital anomalies of uterus and
• Double uterus (uterus didelphys): results from failure of
fusion of the inferior parts of the paramesonephric ducts. It
may be associated with double or single vagina.
• Bicornuate uterus: One paramesonephric duct is retarded in
its growth and does not fuse with other one.
• Bicornuate uterus with rudimentary horn: the rudimentary
horn may not communicate with uterine cavity
• Unicornuate uterus: One paramesonephric duct fails to
develop; resulting in a uterus with one uterine tube.
• Absence of vagina and uterus: Reslts from the failure of
sinovaginal bulbs to develop.
• Vaginal atresia: Failure of the canalization of the vaginal
• Imperforate hymen: Failure of perforation of the inferior
end of the vaginal plate
A. Normal uterus
and vagina
B. Double uterus
C. Double uterus
with single
D. Bicornuate
E. Bicornuate
uterus with a
rudimentary left
F. Septate uterus
G. Unicornuate
Congenital anomalies of hymen
Development of external genitalia: indifferent
• In the 3th week
mesenchyme cells
originating in the region of
the primitive streak migrate
around the cloacal
membrane to make a pair of
slightly elevated cloacal
• Cranial to the cloacal
membrane, the folds unite
to form the genital tubercle
• Caudally the folds are
subdivided into urethral folds
anteriorly and anal folds
• Another pair of elevations
(geniatl swellings) becomes
visible on each side of the
urethral folds
• Later these swellings from
the scrotal swellings in male,
labia majora in female
Development of external genitalia in
• Is under the influence of
androgens from the fetal
• Characterized by rapid
elongation of the genital
tubercle (phallus); during
which the phallus pulls the
urethral folds forward so
that thay form the lateral
walls of the urethral groove
• The urethral groove does not
reach the most distal part
• The epithelial lining of the
groove which originates in
the endoderm, forms the
urethral plate
Development of external genitalia in
• At the end of third month the
two urethral folds close over
the urethral plate; forming the
penile urethra
• This canal does not extend to
the tip of the phallus
• This most distal urethra is
formed during 4th month when
ectodermal cells from the tip of
the glans penetrate inward
and form an epithelial cord.
• This cord obtains a lumen and
forms the external urethral
• The genital/scrotal swellings
arise in the inguinal region;
move caudally and each one
makes up half of the scrotum,
separated by scrotal septum.
Congenital anomalies of penis
• Hypospadias: most common anomaly of the penis. The
external urethral orifice is on the ventral surface of the
glans penis (penile hypospadias). Resulting from
inadequate production of androgens by the fetal testes/or
inadequate receptor sites for the hormone
• Epispadias: The urethra opens on the dorsal surface of the
penis; often associated with extrophy of the bladder;
resulting from inadequate ectodermal-mesodermal
interactions during development of genital tubercle
• Agenesis of external genitalia: Absence of penis or clitoris;
resulting from the failure of development of genital
• Bifid penis and double penis: vary rare, often associated
with extrophy of the bladder or urinary anomalies; results
when two genital tubercles develop.
• Micropenis: The penis is so small that it is almost hidden by
the suprapubic pad of fat. It results from a fetal testicular
Agenesis of external genitalia
Development of external genitalia in
• Stimulated by estrogens, genital tubercle elongates only
slightly forming the clitoris
• Urethral folds do not fuse; develop into labia minora
• Genital swellings enlarge and form the labia majora
• Urogenital groove is open and forms the vestibule
• Although the genital tubercle does not elongate extensively
in female, its larger than in male during the early stages;
resulting in mistakes in identification of the sex by USG
5th week
Development of external genitalia
A-B: 4th-7th week
İndifferent stage
C, D: 9th week
E, F: 11th week
G, H: 12th week
Descent of the testes
Testicular descent is associated
– Enlargement of testes and atrophy
of mesonephroi (mesonephric
– Atrophy of mesonephric ducts
induxed by the MIS
– Enlargement of processus
vaginalis guiding the testis
through inguinal canal into
By 26 weeks have descended
retroperitoneally from the
posterior abdominal wall to the
deep inguinal rings
Androgens, gubernaculum (a
mesenchymal condensation) may
guide the descent
Descent may take 2-3 days and
the inguinal canal contracts after
they enter the scrotum
As the testis and the ductus
deferens descend they are
enshetaed by the facial
extensions of the abdominal wall
Congenital anomalies of descent of the
• Cryptorchidism or undescended testis: occurs in
30 % of premature, 3-4% of full-term males. It
may be uni or bilateral. Failure of descent in the
first year causes atrophy of testes. It may be in
the abdominal cavity or anywhere along the
descent path, usually in the inguinal canal. It
may be caused by teh defficiency of androgen
production in testes.
• Ectopic testes: After traversing the inguinal
canal, the testis may deviate from its usual path
of descent and lodge in various abnormal
Descent of the ovaries
• Descent is considerably
less in female
• The ovaries sttle below the
rim of the true pelvis
• Cranial genital ligament
forms the suspansory
ligament of ovary
• Caudal genital ligament
forms the ligament of the
ovary proper and the
round ligament of the
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