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Comparative anatomy and histology of the cervix uteri in non-human primates


The uterine cervix of rhesus macaque, crab-eating macaque, stump-tailed macaque, pig-tailed macaque, marmoset, baboon, patas, and squirrel monkeys was studied macroscopically and microscopically. Distribution of spermatozoa and leukocytes in the lumen and within the crypts and clefts was studied in rhesus and marmoset uterine cervix. The cervical canal of baboon, patas, marmoset, and stump-tailed monkeys is straight or slightly bent. The presence of variably developed ventral and dorsal colliculi in rhesus, crab-eating, and pig-tailed macaques causes the dorsoventral sinuosity of the cervical canal. The cervix of all investigated specimens is fundamentally fibrous tissue and the amount of muscle fibers increases toward the uterine corpus. The cervical mucosa of baboon, marmoset, and patas monkeys contains a large amount of clefts and tubular tunnels of variable structure, length, width, direction, and degree of branching. The cervical mucosa of macaques contains a large number of crypts of complex structure, length, width and degree of branching. The cervical crypts in macaques are usually longer in the ectocervix; whereas, in the midcervix, mucosa contains small crypts, clefts and long tunnels. Squamo-columnar junction is located near the external os in baboon, patas, marmoset, rhesus, crab-eating, and pig-tailed monkeys. In squirrel monkey, squamous epithelium is continuous through the external os, covers the vestibule and external surface of the cervical colliculi. In stump-tailed macaque, squamo columnar junction is located in the vagina, 1–3 cm from the external os of the cervix. The vaginal wall between the squamo-columnar junction and the external os of the cervix is covered with heavily branched mucosa lined with columnar epithelium. Ciliated cells of cervical epithelium occur in 9 to 19%. A large number of spermatozoa and a relatively low number of leucocytes have been found within crypts and clefts of cervical mucosa. The results are discussed in relation to the function of the cervix in different stages of the cycle, during pregnancy and parturition.

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This investigation was supported in part by Ford Foundation Grant No. 710-0287.

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Hafez, E.S.E., Jaszczak, S. Comparative anatomy and histology of the cervix uteri in non-human primates. Primates 13, 297–314 (1972). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01730575

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  • Vaginal Wall
  • Squirrel Monkey
  • Uterine Cervix
  • Ciliated Cell
  • Columnar Epithelium