Wolffian Duct

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Related to Mesonephric ducts: Mesonephric tubule, mullerian duct

Wolffian duct

[′wu̇l·fē·ən ′dəkt]

Wolffian Duct


(from the name of the naturalist K. F. Wolff), tubule of the primary or truncal kidney, the mesonephros (Wolffian body). It develops in almost all vertebrates from the rudiment growing from the head kidney, the pronepriros, to the cloaca. The Wolffian duct appears to be formed metamerically only in elasmobranch fishes. In the embryos and larvae of bony fishes and amphibians, the Wolffian duct is the excretory duct of the pronephros and mesonephros, but only of the mesonephros in sexually mature females. In male amphibians, a connection forms between the testis and Wolffian duct; the latter functions simultaneously both as a ureter and as a sperm duct. In reptiles, birds, and mammals, due to the appearance of the pelvic kidney, the metanephros with a secondary ureter, the Wolffian duct functions only in the early stages of development, after which it becomes just a sperm duct in males and degenerates in females.


Potemkina, D. A. “O sposobe obrazovaniia vol’fova protoka u amfibii.” Dokl. AN SSSR, 1951, vol. 80, no. 2.


References in periodicals archive ?
In patients with bladder agenesis and without any hind gut abnormalities like in our case, it is proposed that the division of cloaca is normal but there is either a primary developmental failure or secondary atrophy of the urogenital sinus.6 The latter phenomenon is due to failure to incorporate the mesonephric ducts and ureter into the trigone leading to lack of distension with urine and consequent atrophy.
Sadler [21] about the fate of mesonephros noted that in males, until the end of the second month (60 days) tubules and glomeruli of mesonephros kidney atrophied and some terminal mesonephric ducts remain which are involved in the epididymis, vas deferens channels etc.
From these common insertion points, the ureters and mesonephric ducts migrate away from one another, forming the trigone in the process.
The other ends of these tubules drain into bilateral (one on each side) mesonephric ducts that empty into the cloaca, also known as the urogenital sinus.
In the absence of the testis- determining factor of the Y chromosome, the mesonephric ducts begin to degenerate and synchronously, the paramesonephric ducts develop bi directionally along the lateral aspects of the gonads.
In fetal life, at about 6 weeks of gestation, the primordial testis develops from the primitive genital ridge medial to the mesonephric ducts. The primordial testis takes shape and the epididymis with the vas deferens arise from the mesonephric duct at 8 weeks.[sup.4] On the basis of embryologic development, Leung classified polyorchidism into 4 types.[sup.5] In type A, the division separates a small part of the genital ridge which does not contact the mesonephric duct.