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Mullerian duct

Friday 13 June 2008

Definition: The Müllerian ducts (or paramesonephric ducts) are paired ducts of the embryo which run down the lateral sides of the urogenital ridge and terminate at the mullerian eminence in the primitive urogenital sinus. Müllerian duct develops in females and degenerates in males.

In the female, the Müllerian ducts (or paramesonephric ducts) will develop to form the fallopian tubes, uterus, and the upper portion of the vagina. It is a tissue of mesodermal origin.

In the bipotent embryonic stage both Mullerian ducts (paramesonephric ducts) and Wolffian ducts (mesonephric ducts) are present. Müllerian ducts are formed by an invagination of a tube from the surface coelomic epithelium of the mesonephros. In females, the Wolffian duct regresses and the Müllerian duct differentiates into oviduct, uterus and upper vagina.

AMH - Anti-Müllerian Hormone

The development of the Müllerian ducts is controlled by the presence or absence of "AMH", or Anti-Müllerian Hormone (also known as "MIF" for "Müllerian inhibiting factor", or "MIH" for "Müllerian inhibiting hormone").

In male, the testes produce AMH and as a result the development of the Müllerian ducts is inhibited. The ducts disappear except for the vestigial vagina masculina and the appendix testis. Disturbances can lead to persistent müllerian duct syndrome.

In female, the absence of AMH results in the development of female reproductive organs, as noted above. The ducts develop into the upper vagina, cervix, uterus and Fallopian ducts. Disturbance in the development may result in uterine absence (Mullerian agenesis) or uterine malformations.

See also

- Wolffian ducts (mesonephric ducts)