What is the function of the female reproductive system?
- Production of the female gametes (ova)
- Release of gametes in cyclic fashion (menstrual cycle)
- Production of hormones to regulate gamete production and prepare
reproductive tract for gamete transport and fertilisation
- Processes of fertilisation and nurture of an embryo
What are the ovaries?
Female reproductive glands which release the female sex cells, ova
What are the 3 functions of the ovaries?
- Production of immature female gametes (oocytes)
- Secretion of female sex hormones including oestrogen and
- Secretion of inhibin involved in feedback regulation of FSH
Describe the structure of an ovary.
On the outside of the ovaries is germinal epithelium coating it, the next layer down is the tunica albuginea. The bulk of the ovaries is made up of both the cortex and medulla. In the cortex are follicles. The hilum of the ovary is inside the suspensory ligament.
What is the stroma of the ovaries?
It is a highly cellular connective tissue consisting of reticular fibers and ordinary collagen and stromal cells. The tissue is highly vascular. Stromal cells associated with maturing follicles may develop endocrine functions and secrete oestrogens.
Describe the cortex of the ovaries.
The cortex is the outermost layer of stroma in the ovaries and is the tissue that contains the follicles that contain oocytes.
What is the medulla of the ovaries?
The medulla is the innermost tissue of the ovaries and responsible has large amounts of blood vessels, lymphatic vessels and nerve tissue running through it. It is connected to the hilum.
What is the hilum of the ovary?
The area in which blood vessels and nerves enter the ovary, it is through the suspensory ligament that these vessels travel to and from the ovaries.
What are the fallopian tubes?
The fallopian tubes are highly mobiles structure with many adaptations to facilitate the ova that it transports.
What is the uterus?
A hollow muscular organ connected to the fallopian tubes of which the cervix is the opening between the vagina and the hollow area of the uterus.
What is the function fallopian tubes?
The function of the uterus is?
What is the endometrium?
Describe the difference between the proliferative phase and secretory phase of endometrium.
What is the cervix?
A ring of smooth muscle at entrance of uterus, containing many mucus-secreting cells. The activity of the secretory cells alters during menstruation to create ideal conditions for fertilisation.
What is the function of the uterus?
What virus is responsible for almost all cases of cervical cancers?
Human papillomavirus (HPV)
How is cervical cancer screened?
The pap test of smear test looks for precancerous cells and cell changes on cervix that may become cancer.
The HPV test will identify proteins only associated with human papillomavirus.
What are oncogenic viruses?
Viruses that are responsible for the development of certain cancers.
What are the fucntions of the vagina?
- Receives penis during intercourse
- Canal which baby passes through during birth
- Passage for elimination of menstrual fluids
- Normal flora repository
The vaginal fluid is slightly acidic protecting it from some pathogens.
What is the histology of the vagina?
Stratified squamous epithelium lines the walls, with muscularis (inner layer is circular and outer layer is longitudinal) as the middle layer. Beneath the muscularis is a layer of adventitia (connective tissue binding it to other nearby structures)
Describe the process of oogenesis.
Oogonia will undergo mitosis and differentiation (oocytogenesis) as a foetus, producing a large number of oocytes, although only one of these will mature and be released from
Describe the structure of an ovarian follicle.
An ovarian follicle is comprised of an oocyte surrounded by granulosa cells. The granulosa cells are separated from the stroma by a basement membrane.
What are the different stages that follicles will go through in folliculogenesis?
After a primordial follicle is activated by FSH, there are three distinct states in follicle maturation:
- Primary follicles
- Secondary follicles
- Graafian follicles
Describe the structure of a primordial follicle.
Primordial follicles consist of an immature oocyte surrounded by a limited number of squamous (flat) granulosa cells.
Describe the structure of primary follicles.
Primary follicles have a more dense single layer of cuboidal granulosa cells surrounding an immature oocyte. Bigger nucleus than primordial follicles.
Describe the structure of Secondary follicles.
The nucleus of these cells is again larger than primary follicles. There are more layers of cuboidal granulosa cells. Mesenchymal precursor cells in surrounding stroma form the theca folliculi, comprised of the theca externa and interna. The theca interna has endocrine function, secreting androgens, and the theca externa is more of a connective tissue. A thick extracellular layer forms between the oocyte and granulosa cells, known as the zona pellucida.
Describe the structure of a Tertiary or Graafian follicle.