The fine structure and development of the seminal vesicles and prostate in the fetal rat

  • Charles J. Flickinger


The development of the seminal vesicle from the Wolffian duct and of the prostate from the urogenital sinus has been studied in rat fetuses from day 14 of gestation to birth with the use of the electron microscope. Prior to the onset of androgen secretion, the cells of the urogenital sinus and the caudal part of the Wolffian duct have a simple undifferentiated appearance. After the onset of androgen secretion by the fetal testes at day 15, “intracytoplasmic confronting cisternae” of the granular reticulum appear in both urogenital sinus and Wolffian duct. Portions of the granular endoplasmic reticulum of the urogenital sinus become distended with a finely granular, moderately dense material. In the urogenital sinus, many hemidesmosomes are formed at the basal surface of the epithelium. Specializations of the extracellular materials are present opposite the hemidesmosomes. The formation of the seminal vesicles and the prostate begins at day 18–19 of gestation. The cells of the seminal vesicle are taller than the Wolffian duct cells from which they arise, the granular endoplasmic reticulum increases moderately in amount, and a patent lumen is formed. The cells of the fetal prostate do not differ greatly from those of the urogenital sinus from which they arise except that the prostatic cells initially lack hemidesmosomes. The fine structural changes are discussed in relation to the onset of fetal androgen secretion, the formation of the organs, and the functions of the cells in adult life.


Seminal vesicle Prostate Fetal rat Ultrastructure Development 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles J. Flickinger
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental BiologyUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA

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