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Reproductive Histology

Hisotology of the Testes

Indentification:

The distinct circular structures (seminiferous tubules) are composed of multiple layers of cells, and there is little other tissue between them (unlike ovarian tissue, for example). The lumen of the tubules do not have any intruding structures (as seen in kidney or ovary slides). It is probably just coincidence that the male reproductive tissue is stained blue while the female tissues are stained pink.

Features to know:

  • Interstitial (or Leydig) cells can be found in the spaces between tubules (1).
  • The stages of spermatogenesis can be traced from the outer to inner layers of the seminiferous tubules (slide 2).
    • The outermost layer of cells, with distinct dark nuclei are the spermatogonia (2).
    • Next are the spermatocytes (3). These form an irregular layer and have smaller, lighter nuclei. It is difficult to distinguish between primary and secondary spermatocytes, however, primary spermatocytes have a small dark nucleus centrally located within the cell.
    • The last layer are the spermatids (4). Their haploid nuclei are much smaller, and can be more difficult to see.

Other features:

The wispy material barely visible inside the lumen of the seminiferous tubules are immature spermatozoans - sperm cells (5).

Testes
Tubule

Histology of the Ovary

Indentification:

The most distinctive feature of the ovary are the largecircular Graafian follicles (4), lined with stratified cuboidal cells and with acentral empty-appearing region (antrum). In most of these follicles, there willbe a single large oocyte (5), also surrounded by a couple of layers ofepithelium.

Features to know:

Identify the 4 developmental stages of the ovarian follicle. However, since these stages are really just points along a continuum ofdevelopment, some follicles may be difficult to categorize.

  • The first stage is the primordial follicle (1), which is thesmallest and also the most numerous follicle, found along the edges of theovary. The simple squamous epithelial tissue surrounding the follicle is notdistinct.
  • The primary follicles (2) are somewhat larger than theprimordial follicles, and a layer or two of cubiodal cells is usually visiblearound the follicle.
  • Secondary follicles (3) are larger still, and have multiplelayers of cuboidal epithelium. There are usually gaps (beginning of fluid filledantrum) usually visible.
  • The large Graafian follicles (4) have a single large fluidfilled antrum with the oocyte (5) off to one side.

Other features:

Ooctyes (5).

Ovary Overy
Ovary

Histology of the Uterus

Identification:

The inner lining of the uterus is much thicker than most other hollow organs examined so far. Note in particular, the extensive glandular layer (endometrium) with numerous uterine glands (1).

Features to know:

Be able to distinguish the endometrium (E), which is loaded with glands (1) and lines the lumen, from the muscular, gland-less myometrium (M). The boundary between the endometrium and myometrium is indicated by the solid line in the figures below.

Proliferative Phase

Note the uterine glands (1) are smoothly rounded or oval.
Proliferative Phase

Secretory Phase

Note that the uterine glands (1) are very irregular in shape, with zig-zagging edges.
Secretory Phase

Menstrual Phase

The uterine lining bordering the lumen is irregular and sloughing off - note the loose cells. The glands are much less evident in this stage.
Menstrual Phase