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.
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.
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.