Wolffian Duct

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Wolffian duct

[′wu̇l·fē·ən ′dəkt]
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The collecting ducts of the efferent epididymal ducts subsequently open into the Wolffian duct, which carries sperm to the cloaca (Figs.
At 10 weeks, in the absence of threshold levels of androgen and Mullerian inhibiting factors, the Mullerian ducts develop, the Wolffian ducts regress, and differentiation of the female external genitalia begins.
[4] In a human fetus the Mullerian and Wolffian ducts are both present at 7 weeks of gestation.
On pathological analysis of laparoscopic paraovarian and paratubal cyst biopsy material, tissues differentiated as both Mullerian and Wolffian ducts were observed.
At stage 17, the Mullerian duct appears via a deep invagination at the level of the 3rd thoracic somite and proceeds to grow caudally towards the Wolffian ducts until fusion in stage 18.
The embryonic residual theory states that endometriotic tissues occur from the residual tissue of Mullerian and Wolffian ducts. The backflow of menstrual blood occurs in approximately 90% of reproductive females; therefore, the implantation theory makes sense in that menstrual blood moves back into the fallopian tubes and reaches the peritoneal cavity, and the endometrial tissues in the menstrual blood become implanted in the peritoneum [7].
The upper Wolffian ducts fail to develop, so no internal male organs are present.
Wolffian ducts develop from the mesonephric kidney system (mesoderm), which leads to the development of uterus and upper vagina.
Here's a sample entry: "Wolffian ducts: also called mesonephric ducts; paired ducts that develop during vertebrate development; in human males, they give rise to the vasa deferentia, and in human females, they are relatively undeveloped.
Gupta and Das postulated that adherence and fusion of the developing wolffian ducts takes place early and that descent of one testis causes the other one to follow it toward the same hemiscrotum.
Adhesion or fusion of developing Wolffian ducts, defective development of ipsilateral gubernaculum, testicular adhesion, defective formation of the internal inguinal ring, traction on a testis by persistent Mullerian structures and possibility of the development of both testes from the same germinal ridge, are various postulated theories for the ectopic testis.
Testosterone, a steroid, stimulates development of the Wolffian ducts leading to formation of the epididymis and ductus deferens, the duct system that drains the testes.