Russian Journal of Developmental Biology

, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 101–107 | Cite as

Sex-Related Differences in Urethra Development in Human Embryos

  • T. V. Khmara
  • M. A. Riznichuk
  • L. A. Strizhakovskaya


Virtually no information on the chronology of prenatal development of the human urinary tract and the sex-related differences in the emergence of urinary tract topography during embryonic development is presently available. The aim of our work was to study sex-related differences in urethra development in human embryos and early fetuses. Forty-nine preparations of human embryos and early fetuses without external signs of anatomical abnormalities were studied in order to achieve the aim and fulfill the objectives of the study. Embryos and early fetuses were divided into six groups according to gestational age and parietococcygeal length. The complex of adequate methods of morphological research used in the study included preparation and microscopy of serial histological and anatomical sections of human embryos, including female and male urinary tracts, preparation of 3D-reconstruction models, and morphometry. The formation of prostatic urethra, a derivative of the urogenital sinus, was shown to occur at the beginning of the ninth week of embryogenesis, and the primordium of the internal sphincter of the urinary tract was formed at the end of the tenth week. Formation of the terminal part of spongy urethra took place during weeks 10–11 and involved funnel-like protrusion of the ectoderm from the top of the balanus towards the urethra lumen. The secondary ventral displacement of the urethral opening does not occur in female fetuses, and, therefore, only the prostatic urethra is a homolog of the female urinary tract. The pelvic part of the urogenital sinus was transformed into the prostatic urethra and the membranous urethra of the male at the end of the first stage of fetal development. Elongation of the genital tubercle (a penis primordium) and formation of the urethral ridge walls that involved the urogenital folds occurred at the same time.


early fetuses urinary tract 3D-reconstruction morphogenesis 


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Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. V. Khmara
    • 1
  • M. A. Riznichuk
    • 1
  • L. A. Strizhakovskaya
    • 1
  1. 1.Bukovinian State Medical UniversityChernovtsyUkraine

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