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Development of the Male Reproductive System

Indifferent Stage

During the first stage of the development of gonads, the male and female gonad cannot be distinguished meaning that at the beginning both male and female embryos have 2 pairs of genital ducts called Wolffian duct and Mullerian duct which are both ending at the cloaca. These gonads begin as genital ridges which are pairs of longitudinal ridges that originated from the overlying epithelium and intermediate mesoderm.

from the overlying epithelium and intermediate mesoderm. The migration of the germ cells from the endoderm

The migration of the germ cells from the endoderm lining of the yolk sac to the genital ridges starts during the 4 th week of development, through the dorsal mesentery of the hindgut and reaches the genital ridges on the 6 th week.

week of development, through the dorsal mesentery of the hindgut and reaches the genital ridges on

The epithelium of the genital ridges simultaneously proliferates and penetrates the intermediate mesoderm to form the gonadal cord (primitive sex cords). The indifferent gonad is formed through the combination of the gonadal cords and germ cells.

Development of Testis

XY sex chromosomes are present in a male embryo and the Y chromosome contains the SRY gene which is responsible for the stimulation of the development of the gonadal cords to form the testis/medullary cords. The tunica albuginea is a fibrous connective tissue layer that forms around the cords.

The future rete testis will be formed through the detachment of a portion of the testis cord and the remaining cords contains two types of cells specifically the germ cells and the Sertoli cells.

During puberty these cords will acquire a lumen and develop as the seminiferous tubules (site of sperm formation).

Leydig Cells are located in between the testis cord and is responsible for the production of testosterone in the presence of luteinizing hormone and drives differentiation of the external and internal genitalia during the 8 th week.

of luteinizing hormone and drives differentiation of the external and internal genitalia during the 8 t

Development of the Internal Genitalia

Due to the presence of testosterone, the Wolffian ducts are then developed and forms the primary male genital ducts which will later on gives rise to the efferent ductules, seminal vesicles, epididymis and vas deferens.

ductules, seminal vesicles, epididymis and vas deferens. The Mullerian ducts is degenerated due to the presence

The Mullerian ducts is degenerated due to the presence of anti-Mullerian hormone which is produced by the Sertoli cells in the testes. The small portion of tissue located on the upper pole of both testicles is called “hydatid of Morgagni” or The appendix testis.

portion of tissue located on the upper pole of both testicles is called “hydatid of Morgagni”

Development of the External Genitalia

The external genitalia begin to develop during the 3 rd week. The migration of mesenchymal cells from the primitive streak to the cloacal membrane will form a pair of cloacal folds. Cranially these folds are combined to form the genital tubercle, Caudally these are divided into the anal folds and urethral folds. This soon will lead to scrotal swelling that grow toward each other and fuse in the midline to form the scrotum.

The testes produces androgens which is specifically called as dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is responsible for the development of the indifferent genitalia to become the male genitalia.

Rapid elongation of the genital tubercle becomes the phallus. The urethral groove is formed by pulled urethral folds that extends along the caudal region of the phallus and closes over by the 4 th month as a result forms the penile urethra.

along the caudal region of the phallus and closes over by the 4 t h month

THE EPITHELIUM at the end of the penis forms 2 invaginations. First at the tip of the glands, an ectodermal ingrowth forms a cellular cord, the glandular epithelial plate. Splitting of this plate forms a groove, the glandular urethra, on the ventral part of the glans that is continuous with the urethral groove in the body of the penis. Closure of the groove in the glans moves the urethral opening to the tip of the glans and joins the 2 urethral parts.

to the tip of the glans and joins the 2 urethral parts. The second invagination is

The second invagination is circular and is called the preputial epithelial plate. Cleavage of this plate before birth separates the glands penis from the prepuce or foreskin. The latter is a fold of skin at the tip of the penis which grows over the glans and surrounds it by week 1 It is fused to the glans and not retractable at birth, but breakdown of the fused surfaces normally occurs during infancy.

It is fused to the glans and not retractable at birth, but breakdown of the fused

The descent of gonads

Gonads arise at the upper lumbar region are all tethered to the labia or scrotum by the gubernaculum which is a structure formed from mesenchyme by ligaments.

The testes becomes more caudally aligned as the fetus grows and it pass through the inguinal canal around the 28 th week and reach the scrotum by the 33 rd week and during the descent of the testes it retains its original blood supply from the lumbar aorta.