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© LECTURE NOTES – ANATOMY & PHYSIOLOGY II (A. IMHOLTZ) FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE P1 OF 5 The functions of the female reproductive system include: - Production of female gametes ( ova ). - Production of female sex hormones ( estrogens and progesterone ). - Reception and maintenance of a developing embryo and fetus . The ovaries flank the uterus laterally and are held in place by several ligaments. The ovarian ligament anchors the ovary medially to the uterus. The suspensory ligament anchors it laterally to the pelvic wall. The mesovarium anchors the ovary to the uterus and abdominal wall and runs btwn the ovarian ligament and fallopian tube. The suspensory ligament and mesovarium are part of the broad ligament . The broad ligament is a fold of peritoneum that drapes over the uterus, uterine tubes, and ovaries and supports them. The ovarian arteries and ovarian veins are the major blood vessels of the ovaries. Each ovary is surrounded by a fibrous tunica albuginea . The tunica albuginea is surrounded by a layer of simple cuboidal epithelium called germinal epithelium . The ovarian cortex is the site of ovarian follicles , which house/support the developing gametes. The ovarian medulla primarily contains blood vessels and nerves. Each ovarian follicle consists of a developing egg (an oocyte ) surrounded by one or more layers of supporting cells , known as follicle cells if there is only a single layer and as granulosa cells if there are multiple layers. There are 4 basic stages of follicular development. A primordial follicle is of a single layer of squamous follicle cells surrounding an oocyte. A primary follicle has one or more layers of cuboidal follicle cells surrounding an oocyte. A secondary follicle is similar to a primary follicle except that fluid-filled spaces exist btwn the surrounding granulosa cells. A graafian follicle ( vesicular follicle ) contains a huge fluid-filled cavity called an antrum that dominates the whole structure. Each month, one graafian follicle (on average) will undergo ovulation and the oocyte will be ejected from the ovary into the peritoneal cavity. The remaining granulosa cells transform into a corpus hemorrhagicum and then into a short- lived endocrine structure known as the corpus luteum . Uterine or fallopian tubes are the initial part of the female duct system. They receive the ovulated oocyte and transport it to the uterus. Each is 4” long and extends medially from the ovary to the uterus. The uterine tube is primarily supported by a portion of the broad ligament known as the mesosalpinx . The uterine tube has 4 regions. At the end are the fimbriae , ciliated fingerlike extensions that drape over the ovary. The infundibulum is an open funnel-shaped structure from which the fimbriae extend. The ampulla is the portion that curves around the ovary. The isthmus is the constricted region where the tube joins the uterus. When an ovulated oocyte is cast into the peritoneal cavity, the cilia on the fimbriae beat creating a current of fluid that draws the
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This note was uploaded on 11/10/2011 for the course LS 101 taught by Professor Abdul during the Spring '11 term at Montgomery College.

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