Chapter 27
The Reproductive System
1037
27
projections called
fimbriae
(fim
9
bre-e; “fringe”) that drape over
the ovary.
Around the time of ovulation, the uterine tube performs a
complex “dance” to capture oocytes. It bends to drape over the
ovary while the fimbriae stiffen and sweep the ovarian surface.
Te beating cilia on the fimbriae create currents in the peri-
toneal fluid that tend to carry an oocyte into the uterine tube,
where it begins its journey toward the uterus.
Te uterine tube contains sheets of smooth muscle, and its
thick, highly folded mucosa contains both ciliated and noncili-
ated cells. Te oocyte is carried toward the uterus by a combina-
tion of muscular peristalsis and the beating cilia. Nonciliated
cells of the mucosa have dense microvilli and produce a secre-
tion that keeps the oocyte (and sperm, if present) moist and
nourished.
Externally, the uterine tubes are covered by peritoneum
and supported along their length by a short mesentery (part of
the broad ligament) called the
mesosalpinx
(mez
0
o-sal
9
pinks;
“mesentery of the trumpet”;
salpin
5
trumpet), a reference to
the trumpet-shaped uterine tube it supports (Figure 27.14).
The Female Duct System
Describe the location, structure, and function of each of the
organs of the female reproductive duct system.
Unlike the male duct system, which is continuous with the tu-
bules of the testes, the female duct system has little or no actual
contact with the ovaries. An ovulated oocyte is cast into the
peritoneal cavity, and some oocytes are lost there.
The Uterine Tubes
Te
uterine tubes
(u
9
ter-in), also called
fallopian tubes
or
ovi-
ducts
, form the initial part of the female duct system (Figure 27.12
and
Figure 27.14
). Tey receive the ovulated oocyte and are the
site where fertilization generally occurs. Each uterine tube is about
10 cm (4 inches) long and extends medially from the region of an
ovary to empty into the superolateral region of the uterus via a con-
stricted region called the
isthmus
(is
9
mus). Te distal end of each
uterine tube expands as it curves around the ovary, forming the
ampulla
. Te ampulla ends in the
infundibulum
(in
0
fun-dib
9
u-
lum), an open, funnel-shaped structure bearing ciliated, fingerlike
Vagina
• Ext
er
nal os
Cer
vical canal
• Inte
rn
al os
Wall of uterus
Per
imetr
ium
• Myometr
ium
• Endometr
ium
Round ligament of ut
er
us
Uterine tube
• Infundib
ulum
Fi
mb
riae
• Isthmus
Ampulla
Lumen (cavity)
of ut
er
us
Suspensory
lig
ament of ov
ar
y
Ut
er
ine (fallopian) tube
Ovarian
blood
v
essels
• Mesosalpinx
• Meso
varium
Broad ligament
• Mesometr
ium
Ovar
y
Ovarian
lig
ament
Body of ut
er
us
Ur
et
er
Ut
er
ine blood vessels
Isthmus
Ut
er
osacral ligament
Car
dinal (lateral cervical)
lig
ament
Lateral fo
r
nix
Cer
vix
F
undus
of ut
er
us
Figure 27.14
Internal reproductive organs of a female, posterior view.
The posterior
walls of the vagina, uterus, and uterine tubes, and the broad ligament (a peritoneal fold) have
been removed on the right side to reveal the shape of the lumen of these organs. (For a related
image, see
A Brief Atlas of the Human Body
, Figure 75.)
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