Mullerian ducts

Mullerian ducts

Embryonic undifferentiated sex organs fallopian tube fallopian tube


Developed, differentiated sexual organ systems

Normal sexual development is governed by presence or absense of testosterone and AMH. In males, degeneration of the Mullerian ducts is triggered by AMH. Development of the Wolffian ducts is triggered by testosterone. In individuals with androgen insensitivity syndrome, AMH acts but testosterone does not.

structures, which store, nourish, and ejaculate sperm. The other set, called the Mullerian ducts, has the capacity to become the female fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix, and upper vagina.

In males, testosterone from the testes stimulates the development of the Wolffian ducts. Testosterone also stimulates nearby tissue to swell and form the penis and scrotum. A second hormone made by the testes, called anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH), induces the Mullerian ducts to undergo apop-tosis, causing them to degenerate. During puberty, testosterone stimulates the development of other male secondary sex characteristics, including facial hair and a deepening of the voice.

In females, the absence of testosterone and AMH causes the Mullerian ducts to develop and the Wolffian ducts to degenerate. The same tissue that forms the penis and scrotum in males forms the clitoris, labia, and lower vagina in females. At puberty, estrogen stimulates development of female secondary sex characteristics, including enlargement of the breasts and onset of menstruation.

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