Female Reproductive System: Ovary

by Geoffrey Meyer, PhD

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    The female reproductive system includes the ovary. During this lecture, I would like you to understand that, first of all, there are different organs that make up the female reproductive system. And I’m only going to describe the ovary in this lecture. In other lectures, I’m going to talk about the other organs. So during this lecture, I want you to understand what goes on in the ovary during the ovarian cycle. That during the follicular phase of the cycle, follicles are recruited and go through various stages of growth until they get to the ovulatory phase where only a selected one or two, perhaps, ovulate. So please understand all the changes, the structural changes going on leading to the time of ovulation. And then after ovulation, the ruptured follicle forms the corpus luteum. Understand the structure of the corpus luteum, how it forms, and then what it secretes during the luteal phase of the ovarian cycle. Also, as well as understanding all the structural changes going on through both the follicular, the ovulatory, and the luteal phase, make sure you’re aware of the hormonal changes as well. The ovary is very important because it performs two functions. It produces the mature gamete, the ovum, and it also participates in steroidogenesis, the production of estrogens and progestins. And they have very important functions in different organs of the female body. So it’s important to understand that the hormones produced, regulate various cells, tissues, and organs throughout the body. And we will mention this as we go through this lecture, and also the effects of these hormones on other organ systems in other lectures. I’m going to now briefly summarize the major organs of the female reproductive system. In this diagram, just orientate yourself a little. It’s a little bit too...

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Female Reproductive System: Ovary by Geoffrey Meyer, PhD is from the course Human Organ Systems. It contains the following chapters:

    • Female Reproductive System: Ovary
    • The ovary
    • The stages of follicular development
    • Primordial follicle
    • Secondary and mature follicle
    • Corpus luteum
    • Summary of the ovary

    Quiz for lecture

    Test your knowledge with our quiz for lecture Female Reproductive System: Ovary.

    1. The mesothelial layer covering the ovary is a "germinal layer" which gives rise to the female gametes
    2. One function of the ovary is steroidogenesis - the production of steroid hormones
    3. One function of the ovary is oogenesis - the production of the female gamete or ovum
    4. The ovary has a central medulla and an outer cortex
    5. The dense connective tissue in the outer cortex is called the tunica albuginea
    1. Once follicles develop a central space (or antrum) they then are destined to degenerate - a process called atresia
    2. A single "follicular" layer of cells surrounding the oocyte becomes stratified and then the cells are referred to as "granulosa cells"
    3. The oocyte increases in size
    4. An outer connective tissue layer forms around the follicle and is called the theca externa
    5. An inner connective tissue layer forms around the follicle and is called the theca interna and produces precursors for granulosa cells to produce oestrogen's
    1. The zona pellucida secretes enzymes to allow sperm to penetrate and fertilise the oocyte
    2. The zona pellucida secretes proteins for the attachment of sperm in preparation for fertilization
    3. The zona pellucida secretes proteins that can induce the acrosome reaction whereby the sperm secretes enzymes to penetrate the zona pellucid
    4. The zona pellucida protects the oocyte
    5. The zona pellucida is located between the oocyte and the granulosa cell layers of the growing follicle
    1. Granulosa cells synthesize increasing amounts of estrogen (from androgen precursors secreted by theca interna cells) in response to LH stimulation
    2. In the "dominant follicle" progesterone production commences just prior to ovulation in response to LH
    3. A select few follicles have granulosa cells that accumulate receptors for LH with about 12 hours before ovulation
    4. Granulosa cells in the mature follicle secrete increasing amounts of estrogen in response to FSH stimulation
    5. The dominant follicle has the most numbers of LH receptors and so is best sensitised to respond to the LH surge and ovulate
    1. The degenerated zona pellucida of an atretic follicle is referred to as a "glassy membrane"
    2. Theca lutein cells in the corpus luteum are derived from theca interna cells of the ruptured follicle and continue to secrete androgens
    3. Granulsoa lutein cells secrete progesterone and oestrogen in response to LH
    4. When the corpus luteum degenerates it is recognised for some time in the ovarian cortex as the corpus albicans
    5. Human chorionic gondaotrophin secreted by the endometrium "rescues" demise of the corpus luteum by maintaining secretion of LH from the pituitary gland

    Author of lecture Female Reproductive System: Ovary

     Geoffrey Meyer, PhD

    Geoffrey Meyer, PhD

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