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Encyclopedia > Wolffian ducts

The Wolffian duct (also known as archinephric duct, Leydig's duct, and the mesonephric duct) is an paired organ found in mammals including humans during embryogenesis. It connects the primitive kidney Wolffian body (or mesonephros) to the cloaca and serves as the anlage for certain male reproductive organs.

In a male, it develops into a system of connected organs between the testis and the prostate, namely the rete testis, the efferent ducts, the epididymis, the vas deferens, the seminal vesicle, and the prostate. For this it is critical that the ducts are exposed to testosterone during embryogenesis. In the mature male, the function of this system is to store and mature sperm, and provide accessory semen fluid.

In the female, in the absence of testosterone support, the Wolffian ducts do not develop and wither. As a residual the epoophoron may be present. Also, lateral to the wall of the vagina a Gartner's duct or cyst could develop as a remnant.

It is named after Caspar Friedrich Wolff.

See also

  Results from FactBites:
Human sexual differentiation (3765 words)
Wolffian ducts are present in the embryo at a crown-rump length of 4-5 mm, and serve as the excreting duct to the mesonephros.
In the male fetus, the anterior part of the wolffian ducts communicate with the seminiferous tubules, the posterior part forms the vas deferens and the seminal vesicle.
Gonadectomy performed in male rabbit fetuses before the age of differentiation induces the degeneration of the wolffian ducts and the development of the müllerian ducts into fallopian tubes, uterus and the upper part of the vagina (24).
  More results at FactBites »



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