Anatomy and Histology of the Uterine Corpus

  • Alex Ferenczy


Elizabeth Ramsey’s review of the history of anatomic studies of the human uterus is among the best available in the English literature, and the interested student is referred to her chapter in Biology of the Uterus. 65 Briefly, the first comprehensive description of the external anatomy of the human uterus was made by the Greek physician Soranus of Ephesus in the second century a.d. Until the Renaissance in Europe, several misconceptions prevailed about the function and internal anatomy of the uterus. For example, it was believed that the cervix had a spongy consistency similar to that of the lungs and served the function of respiration. Others suggested that the uterus was analogous to the scrotum and migrated into the abdominal cavity. The theory of a multi-compartmentalized uterus with seven chambers was held for centuries, as was the concept that the uterine arteries convey menstrual blood to the mammary glands, where it is converted into milk during pregnancy. The anatomy of the uterus became better known when dissection of cadavers became a part of medical practice—Leonardo da Vinci in the 15th century and Vesalius in the 16th century demonstrated that the human uterus had a single cavity lined by decidua and supported by muscular layers. In the 18th century, William Hunter described the gestational uterus including the placenta and the utero-placental vascular system. Development of histology and microscopy led to an explosive growth of knowledge of the uterus, with detailed descriptions of the embryology by Müller in the 19th century and hormone-mediated cyclic endometrial changes by Hitschmann and Adler and later by Robert Schroeder in the early 20th century.


Gland Cell Glandular Epithelium Stromal Fibroblast Human Endometrium Decidual Cell 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1987

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  • Alex Ferenczy

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