Ovary: Structure – Female Reproductive System

by Geoffrey Meyer, PhD

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    00:00 the external genitalia. Moving on to the ovary, remember, it’s the organ in the female that produces the gamete, the ovum. It’s also the organ that produces hormones, steroidogenesis.

    00:16 And the main hormones produced will be estrogen and progesterone. Here is a section through an ovary. It’s a histological section taken through the ovary of an adult. And on the outside surface is a cortex. The surface component of the ovary is surrounding a medulla where, as you look here in this section, you can see lots of little profiles of tubes containing very bright red components. They are blood vessels, and they enter into the ovary through the hilum into the medulla, and those blood vessels will then form capillary beds which go out towards the cortex, towards the surface of the ovary. And if you look at the cortex, you can see little round structures, some tiny, some bigger, some have clear lumens.

    01:13 These represent follicles, ovarian follicles, at various stages of follicular development, which I’m going to describe in this lecture. Again, on the left-hand side is our image or our section of the ovary showing you the cortex and the medulla. For the remainder of this lecture, I’m going to concentrate only on the cortex, because that’s where all the follicular growth occurs throughout the ovarian cycle. On the right-hand side is a high magnification section taken of the epithelial surface of the ovary. And it’s named the germinal epithelium. It’s a mesothelium consisting of cuboidal cells, wrongly called germinal epithelium because earlier histologists thought this epithelium gave rise to the cells that form the follicles in the cortex. And underneath that germinal epithelium is a dense connective tissue layer, separating the epithelial surface from the underlying cortex where all the follicular genesis is going to occur. And that dense connective tissue layer or coating is called the tunica albuginea. Here is a diagram and also a section through the

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Ovary: Structure – Female Reproductive System by Geoffrey Meyer, PhD is from the course Reproductive Histology.

    Included Quiz Questions

    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

    Author of lecture Ovary: Structure – Female Reproductive System

     Geoffrey Meyer, PhD

    Geoffrey Meyer, PhD

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