Mesonephric duct

Mesonephric duct

Mesonephric duct
Urogenital sinus of female human embryo of eight and a half to nine weeks old.
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Transverse section of a chick embryo of forty-five hours' incubation.
Latin ductus mesonephricus; ductus Wolffi
Gray's subject #252 1205
Carnegie stage 11
Days 28
Precursor intermediate mesoderm
Gives rise to vas deferens, seminal vesicles, epididymis
Code TE E5.

The mesonephric duct (also known as Wolffian duct, archinephric duct, Leydig's duct and nephric duct) is a 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.



Wolffian duct (red) degenerates in females (middle image) and develops in males (bottom).

In both the male and the female the Wolffian duct develops into the trigone of urinary bladder, a part of the bladder wall. However, further development differentiates between the sexes in the development of the urinary and reproductive organs.

Male development

In a male, it develops into a system of connected organs between the efferent ducts of the testis and the prostate, namely the epididymis, the vas deferens, and the seminal vesicle. The prostate forms from the urogenital sinus and the efferent ducts form from the mesonephric tubules.

For this it is critical that the ducts are exposed to testosterone during embryogenesis. Testosterone binds to and activates androgen receptor, affecting intracellular signals and modifying the expression of numerous genes..[1]

In the mature male, the function of this system is to store and mature sperm, and provide accessory semen fluid.

Female development

In the female, in the absence of testosterone support, the Wolffian duct regresses, and inclusions may persist. The epoophoron and Skene's glands may be present. Also, lateral to the wall of the vagina a Gartner's duct or cyst could develop as a remnant.

The derivatives can be remembered using the mnemonic, "Gardener's SEED" for Gartner's duct, Seminal vesicles, Epididymis, Ejaculatory duct and Ductus deferens.[2]


It is named after Caspar Friedrich Wolff who described the mesonephros and its ducts in his dissertation in 1759.[3]

Additional images

See also


  1. ^ Hannema SE, Print CG, Charnock-Jones DS, Coleman N, Hughes IA (2006). "Changes in gene expression during Wolffian duct development". Horm. Res. 65 (4): 200–9. doi:10.1159/000092408. PMID 16567946. 
  2. ^ "Wolffian duct: Derivatives". LifeHugger. Retrieved 2009-12-12. 
  3. ^ synd/2845 at Who Named It?

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • mesonephric duct — n WOLFFIAN DUCT * * * an embryonic duct which, initiated in association with rudiments of the pronephric kidney, is taken over as an excretory duct by the mesonephros, and develops into the epididymis, the ductus deferens and its ampulla, the… …   Medical dictionary

  • mesonephric duct — noun : the efferent duct of the embryonic mesonephros persisting as a functional ureter in females and as a urinogenital duct in males of lower vertebrates in which the mesonephros is the definitive kidney and as the genital duct in males of… …   Useful english dictionary

  • mesonephric duct — /mɛsoʊˌnɛfrɪk ˈdʌkt/ (say mesoh.nefrik dukt), /miz / (say meez ) noun → Wolffian duct …  

  • Mesonephric tubules — Latin tubuli mesonephrici Code TE E5.; E5. Mesonephric tubules are genital ridges that are next to the mesonephros. In males, some of the mesonephric kidney tubules, instead of being used to filter blood like the rest, they… …   Wikipedia

  • Mesonephric — Mes o*neph ric, a. (Anat.) Of or pertaining to the mesonephros; as, the mesonephric, or Wolffian, duct. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • duct — A tubular structure giving exit to the secretion of a gland or organ, capable of conducting fluid. SEE ALSO: canal. SYN: ductus [TA]. [L. duco, pp. ductus, to lead] aberrant ducts SYN: aberrant ductules, under ductule …   Medical dictionary

  • duct of Wolff — wolffian duct mesonephric d …   Medical dictionary

  • wolffian duct — noun Usage: often capitalized W Etymology: wolffian (II) : mesonephric duct * * * (sometimes l.c.) Embryol. a duct, draining the mesonephros of the embryo, that becomes the vas deferens in males and vestigial in females. [1875 80; named after K.… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Paramesonephric duct — Urogenital sinus of female human embryo of eight and a half to nine weeks old …   Wikipedia

  • Wolffian duct — n the duct of the mesonephros that persists in the female chiefly as part of the epoophoron and in the male as the duct system leaving the testis and including the epididymis, vas deferens, seminal vesicle, and ejaculatory duct called also Leydig …   Medical dictionary

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