Abnormalities – Genital System Development

by John McLachlan, PhD

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    00:00 There is variety of abnormalities that may occur in the development of the vagina and uterus. Imagine again the coming together of the paramesonephric ducts. This will normally meet in the midline, and then fuse to give the uterus, vagina, and the uterus in the upper part of the vagina.

    00:20 So anything which interrupts this coming together in fusing is going to give rise to a variety of different morphologies. One may have, for instance, two completely separate uteruses.

    00:32 In this condition, there will be a significant impact on the likelihood of becoming pregnant.

    00:38 All the conditions may be similar but not quite so marked and this can range all the way from a [inaudible 00:13:56]uterus at the upper part to a septum in the center of the uterus.

    00:48 But these are all variations on the same general idea. In some cases, one paramesonephric duct may not form properly, and therefore, only one horn of the uterus will develop normally.

    01:02 This can have a significant impact on the likelihood of conception when the mother is trying for a child. We looked at the complex process of the descent of the testicles.

    01:11 In fact, what we can see is that this is something which is quite likely to go wrong.

    01:15 Indeed, 3 percent of male babies may have an undescended testis at birth. And because this process happens relatively late in development, premature babies are even more likely to have an undescended testes or testis. If this happens, then either it can be adjusted surgically or various chemical compounds can be given to try and accelerate the process of descent of the testis.

    01:40 If a testis remains inside the body cavity, the raised temperature that it?s exposed to compared to this normal temperature in the testis sac means that it may not produce viable sperm. In a small number of cases, there?s a possibility that because it?s in the wrong site, its development may become very abnormal, indeed, even cancerous.

    02:02 And this is something we?d have to be looked for if a testis had failed to descend when we need to consider whether or not we had to identify where the testis was and consider removing it. There are other abnormalities that can take place as a result of the process of descent of the testis. Essentially, these will rely on in continuing of the opening of the vaginal process. This may incorporate a loop of the gut, and the gut may then be cut off from its normal blood supply and become necrotic. Alternatively, the processus vaginalis, the vaginal process, may begin to build up fluid and create a large hydrocele, and this can grow to very considerable size, indeed. These possibilities may also occur in females, even though of course they have ovaries rather than testis because the vaginal process is present in both sexes. A relatively common malformation of the penis is failure of the zipping up of the folds of the urogenital sinus to take place properly and if this was to occur, there would be a gap or opening on the underside of the penis, a condition known as hypospadias. The penis, in this condition, males will be curved downwards and be smaller than in normal size. So then, we have looked at the development of the genital system, starting with the primordial germ cells, looking at the development and migration of both ovaries and testis, and looking at the development of the external genitalia in addition.

    03:39 We?ve also touched on some of the most significant developmental abnormalities present in this genital apparatus. Thank you very much.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Abnormalities – Genital System Development by John McLachlan, PhD is from the course System-Specific Embryology with John McLachlan.

    Author of lecture Abnormalities – Genital System Development

     John McLachlan, PhD

    John McLachlan, PhD

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