Prenatal Human Development

  • Ronan O’Rahilly


The prenatal development of the human uterus is presented here primarily from the viewpoint of morphology. It should be needless to stress that other considerations—from the fields of biochemistry and endocrinology, for example—are also necessary for a proper understanding of uterine development. Moreover, a developmental account of the uterus necessitates that attention be given to the urinary system, because “the urinary and reproductive organs … form an inseparable whole in the adult organism” (Felix, 1912) as they do also in the embryo and fetus.


Vaginal Epithelium Broad Ligament Urogenital Sinus Carnegie Inst Mesonephric Duct 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Agogué, M., 1965, Dualité embryologique du vagin humain et origine histologique de sa muqueuse. Gynécol. Obstét. 64: 407–414.Google Scholar
  2. Beltermann, R., 1965, Elektronenmikroskopische Untersuchungen am Epoophoron des Menschen, Arch. Gynaeko 200: 275–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bok, G., and Drews, U., 1983, The role of the wolffian ducts in the formation of the sinus vagina: An organ culture study, J. Embryol. Exp. Morphol 73: 275–295.Google Scholar
  4. Bouton, C., and Maillet, M., 1971, Contribution à l’étude de l’organogénèse utérine chez le foetus humain, C. R. Assoc. Anat. 56: 261–275.Google Scholar
  5. Bowdler, J. D., Dey, D. L., and Smith, P. G., 1971, Embryological implications of the male vagina, J. Anat. 110: 510.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Bulmer, D., 1957, The development of the human vagina, J. Anat. 91: 490–509.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Buttram, V. C., 1983, Müllerian anomalies and their management, Fertil. Steril. 40: 159–163.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Candreviotis, N., 1967, Die spezifische Differenzierung des Mesenchym in den Anlagen der Genitalorgane des Menschen, insbesondere des Müllerschen Ganges bei der Frau und ihre Beziehung zur Histogenese der Endometriose, gegrundent auf embryologisch-histologische Untersuchungen, Zentralbl. Gynaekol. 89: 369–382.Google Scholar
  9. Clarke, H. R., 1911, A contribution to the origin of uterine muscle in relation to blood-vessels, J. Obstet. Gynaecol. Br. Emp. 20: 85–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cunha, G. R., 1975, The dual origin of vaginal epithelium, Am. J. Anat. 143: 387–392.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cunha, G. R., 1976, Epithelial-stromal interactions in development of the urogenital tract, Int. Rev. Cytol. 47: 137–194.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Danforth, D. N., 1947, The fibrous nature of the human cervix, and its relation to the isthmic segment in gravid and nongravid uteri, Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol. 53: 541–560.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Davies, J., and Kusama, H., 1962, Developmental aspects of the human cervix, Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 97: 534–550.Google Scholar
  14. Didier, E., 1968, Données expérimentales sur la formation du canal de Müller chez l’embryon d’oiseau, Ann. Embryol. Morphog. 1: 341–350.Google Scholar
  15. Didier, E., 1973a, Recherches sur la morphogénèse du canal de Müller chez les oiseaux. I. Étude descriptive, W. Roux Arch. Entwickl. Mech. Org. 172: 271–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Didier, E., 1973b, Recherches sur la morphogénèse du canal de Müller chez les oiseaux. II. Étude expérimentale, W. Roux Arch. Entwickl. Mech. Org. 172: 287–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Duthie, G. M., 1925, An investigation of the occurrence, distribution and histological structure of the embryonic remains in the human broad ligament, J. Anat. 59: 410–431.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Edelman, D. A., 1986, DES/Diethylstilbestrol. New Perspectives, MTP, Lancaster.Google Scholar
  19. Eida, T., 1961, Entwicklungsgeschichtliche Studien über der Verschiebung der Epithelgrenze an der Portio vaginalis cervicis, Yokohama Med. Bull. Suppl. 12: 54–63.Google Scholar
  20. Faulconer, R. J., 1951, Observations on the origin of the Müllerian groove in human embiyos, Contrib. Embryol. Carnegie Inst. 34: 159–164.Google Scholar
  21. Felix, W., 1912, The development of the urinogenital organs, in: Manual of Human Embryology, Vol. 2 ( F. Keibel and F. P. Mall, eds.), pp. 752–979, J. B. Lippincott, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  22. Fluhmann, C. F., 1960, The developmental anatomy of the cervix uteri, Obstet. Gynecol. 15: 62–69.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Forsberg, J. -G., 1963, Derivation and Differentiation of the Vaginal Epithelium, Institute of Anatomy, LundGoogle Scholar
  24. Forsberg, J. -G., 1965, Origin of vaginal epithelium, Obstet. Gynecol. 25: 787–791.Google Scholar
  25. Forsberg, J. -G., 1973, Cervicovaginal epithelium: Its origin and development, Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol. 115: 1025–1043.Google Scholar
  26. Forsberg, J. -G., 1978, Development of the human vaginal epithelium, in: The Human Vagina ( E. S. E. Hafez and T. N. Evans, eds.), pp. 3–19, North-Holland, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  27. Frutiger, P., 1969, Zur Frühentwicklung der Ductus paramesonephrici und des Müllerschen Hügels beim Menschen, Acta Anat. 72: 233–245.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gardner, G. H., Greene, R. R., and Peckham, B. M., 1948, Normal and cystic structures of the broad ligament, Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol. 55: 917–939.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Glenister, T. W., 1962, The development of the utricle and of the so-called “middle” or “median” lobe of the human prostate, J. Anat. 96: 443–455.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Gruenwald, P., 1941, The relation of the growing müllerian duct to the wolffian duct and its importance for the genesis of malformations, Anat. Ree. 81: 1–19.Google Scholar
  31. Gruenwald, P., 1942, Primary asymmetry of the growing müllerian ducts in the chick embryo, J. Morphol. 71: 299–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Gruenwald, P., 1959, Growth and development of the uterus: The relationship of epithelium to mesenchyme, Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 75: 436–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hamperl, H., and Kaufmann, C., 1959, The cervix uteri at different ages, Obstet. Gynecol. 14: 621–631.Google Scholar
  34. Huffman, J. W., 1948, Mesonephric remnants in the cervix, Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol. 56: 23–40.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Hunter, R. H., 1930, Observations on the development of the human female genital tract, Contrib. Embryol. Carnegie Inst. 22: 91–108.Google Scholar
  36. Jost, A., 1972, A new look at the mechanisms controlling sex differentiation in mammals, Johns Hopkins Med. J. 130: 38–53.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Koff, A. K., 1933, Development of the vagina in the human fetus, Contrib. Embryol. Carnegie Inst. 24: 59–90.Google Scholar
  38. Lauchlan, S. C., 1972, The secondary Müllerian system, Obstet. Gynecol. Surv. 27: 133–146.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Matejka, M., 1959, Die Morphogenese der menschlichen Vagina und ihre Gesetzmässigkeiten, Anat. Anz. 106: 20–37.Google Scholar
  40. Mauch, R. B., Thiedemann, K. -U., and Drews, U., 1985, The vagina is formed by downgrowth of Wolffian and Müllerian ducts, Anat. Embryol. 172: 75–87.Google Scholar
  41. Meyer, R., 1909, Zur Kenntnis des Gartnerschen (oder Wolffschen) Ganges besonders in der Vagina und dem Hymen des Menschen, Arch, mikroskop. Anat. 73: 751–792.Google Scholar
  42. Monie, I. W., and Sigurdson, L. A., 1950, A proposed classification for uterine and vaginal anomalies, Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol. 59: 696–698.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Monroe, C. W., and Spector, B., 1962, The epithelium of the hydatid of Morgagni in the human adult female, Anat. Ree. 142: 189–193.Google Scholar
  44. Morii, T., 1958, Statistical studies on the weights of female internal genital organs of human fetus, Shikoku Acta Med. 13: 212–230.Google Scholar
  45. Morrison, J., 1972, The development of the lower uterine segment, Aust. N. Z. J. Obstet. Gynaecol. 12: 182–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. O’Rahilly, R., 1973, The embryology and anatomy of the uterus, in: The Uterus ( H. J. Norris, A. T. Hertig, and M. R. Abell, eds.), pp. 17–39, Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore.Google Scholar
  47. O’Rahilly, R., 1977, The development of the vagina in the human, Birth Defects 13: 123–136.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. O’Rahilly, R., 1983, The timing and sequence of events in the development of the human reproductive system during the embryonic period proper, Anat. Embryol. 166: 247–261.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. O’Rahilly, R., and Muecke, E. C., 1972, The timing and sequence of events in the development of the human urinary system during the embryonic period proper, Z. Anat. Entwicklungsgesch. 138: 99–109.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. O’Rahilly, R., and Müller, F., 1984, Embryonic length and cerebral landmarks in staged human embryos, Anat. Ree. 209: 265–271.Google Scholar
  51. O’Rahilly, R., and Müller, F., 1987, Developmental Stages in Human Embryos, Publication 637, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, D. C.Google Scholar
  52. Politzer, G., 1955, Zur normalen und abnormen Entwicklung der menschlichen Scheide, Anat. Anz. 102: 271–278.Google Scholar
  53. Sanfilippo, S., and Niedobitek, F., 1965, Zur Pathogenese einer Endometriose im Bereich des Lumbaimarkes bei Spina bifida, Arch. Gynaekol. 200: 452–462.Google Scholar
  54. Scammon, R. E., 1926, The prenatal growth and natal involution of the human uterus, Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 23: 687–690.Google Scholar
  55. Shikinami, J., 1926, Detailed form of the Wolffian body in human embryos of the first eight weeks, Contrib. Embryol. Carnegie Inst. 18: 49–61.Google Scholar
  56. Song, J., 1964, The Human Uterus: Morphogenesis and Embryological Basis for Cancer, Charles C. Thomas, Springfield, IL.Google Scholar
  57. Streeter, G. L., 1948, Developmental horizons in human embryos. Description of age groups XV, XVI, XVII, and XVIII, being the third issue of a survey of the Carnegie Collection, Contrib. Embryol. Carnegie Inst. 32: 133–203.Google Scholar
  58. Sundarasivarao, D., 1953, The Müllerian vestiges and benign epithelial tumours of the epididymis, J. Pathol. Bacteriol. 66: 417–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Szamborski, J., and Laskowska, H., 1968, Some observations on the developmental histology of the human foetal uterus, Biol. Neonat. 13: 298–314.Google Scholar
  60. Torrey, T. W., 1954, The early development of the human nephros, Contrib. Embryol. Carnegie Inst. 35: 175–197.Google Scholar
  61. Ulfelder, H., and Robboy, S. J., 1976, The embryologic development of the human vagina, Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol. 126: 769–776.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. Valdes-Dapena, M. A., 1957, An Atlas of Fetal and Neonatal Histology, J. B. Lippincott, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  63. Vilas, E., 1934, Zur Entwicklung der menschlichen Scheide, Anat. Anz. 79: 150–151.Google Scholar
  64. Walz, W., 1958, Über die Genese der sogenannten indirekten Metaplasie im Bereich des Müllerschen-Gang-Systems, Z. Geburtshilfe Gynaekol. 151: 1–21.Google Scholar
  65. Wells, L. J., 1959, Embryology and anatomy of the vagina, Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 83: 80–88.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Witschi, E., 1970, Development and differentiation of the uterus, in: Prenatal Life ( H. C. Mack, ed.), pp. 11–35, Wayne State University Press, Detroit.Google Scholar
  67. Zanetti, E., Ferrari, L. R., and Rossi, G., 1978, Classification and radiographic features of uterine malformations, Br. J. Radiol. 51: 161–170.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronan O’Rahilly
    • 1
  1. 1.Carnegie Laboratories of EmbryologyCalifornia Primate Research CenterDavisUSA

Personalised recommendations