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Female Reproductive System

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Slide 1: Ovary. This low mag. view shows the general organization of the ovary. The small primordial and primary follicles are located peripherally. The larger developing antral follicles are found centrally (but approach the surface as they mature). The largest of these (preovulatory) are also called Graafian follicles. Several atretic follicles can also be seen in the center. The tissue to the right is the mesovarium.  

Slide 2: Ovary, cat. This slightly higher magnification view shows peripheral primordial follicles and several stages of antral follicle development. "Empty" follicles were not sectioned through the developing oocyte.  

Slide 3: Ovary cortex, the "germinal epithelium" is cuboidal but still a mesothelium. This is not "germinal" in spite of its name. Note the cellular nature of the cortical stroma. Toluidine blue and acid fuchsin stain, plastic embedded section.  

Slide 4: Ovarian cortex. Primordial follicles consist of germ cells surrounded by one layer of flattened follicle cells. Note the very cellular stroma which is typical of the ovary.  

Slide 5: Developing unilaminar (also called primary) follicles, plastic embedded section. Follicle cells surrounding the each developing oocyte have become cuboidal in shape. Note the prominent nucleoli of the developing oocytes.  

Slide 6: Ovarian cortex, H&E. Unilaminar and multilaminar follicles. Note the prominent nucleoli of the developing oocytes, the germinal epithelium, and the very cellular stroma.  

Slide 7: Multilaminar primary follicle. This follicle has two to three layers of granulosa cells. The connective tissue stroma is beginning to orient around the follicular basal lamina to become the thecal layers.  

Slide 8: Multilaminar primary follicle with several layers of follicle cells. Note the developing zona pellucida around the enlarging germ cell and small fluid filled spaces (clear areas) developing in the granulosa layer. The distinction between the theca interna and the theca externa is also apparent.  

Slide 9: Antral follicle and atretic follicle, plastic embedded section. The follicle has developed a fluid-filled antrum within the granulosa layer. Thus, it qualifies a secondary follicle. This antrum is filled with follicular fluid. The zona pellucida is stained bright pink. The atretic follicle shows a loss of the oocyte, collapse of the follicular structure, proliferation of theca interna cells and a centrally located remnant of the zona pellucida, which appears as a collapsed light pink band.  

Slide 10: Antral follicle, higher mag. of part of slide 9. From right to left the structures and layers are: theca interna (and a bit of the externa), basal lamina, granulosa cells, antrum, cumulus oophorus, zona pellucida, oocyte.  

Slide 11: Large, but not yet mature antral follicle, low power. Cracks in the follicular layers are artifacts  

Slide 12: Large corpus luteum, low power. Differentiation and proliferation of granulosa cells into granulosa lutein cells forms a large (light pink) cellular mass. The bands of more darkly stained tissue extending into this mass consists of cells derived from the theca interna (theca lutein cells) and invading blood vessels.  

Slide 13: Corpus luteum, higher mag. The granulosa lutein cells are large, lighter staining cells. The band of cells in the center of the field has clusters of smaller, darker staining theca lutein cells as well as connective tissue elements from theca externa and blood vessels.  

Slide 14: Corpus luteum, high power. Granulosa lutein cells are in the upper part of the image and small theca lutein cells in the lower left.  

Slide 15: Corpus albicans, low power. A degenerating corpus luteum on the left of the image will eventually become a fibrous corpus albicans, such as that at the right and upper left corner.  

Slide 16: Corpus albicans, higher mag. than slide 15. The collagenous nature of the fibrous "scar" is evident.  

Slide 17: Human post-menopausal ovary, low power. Note the absence of developing follicles and the medullary region with several corpra albicans.  

Slide 18: High mag. of part of slide 17 of the post-menopausal ovary. Note the virtual absence of primordial follicles in the cortex.  

Slide 19: Ovary on the left and infundibulum of the oviduct on the right, low power. Note the complex appearance of the highly infolded infundibular mucosa.  

Slide 20: Ampulla, cross section. The mucosa is less complexly infolded than in the infundibulum and the muscle layer is still relatively thin.  

Slide 21: Ampulla, with its circular muscularis and infolded mucosa.  

Slide 22: Fallopian tube epithelium is simple columnar epithelium with 2 types of cells. Note the ciliated cells and darker "peg" cells. The latter secrete a product into the lumen.  

Slide 23: Oviduct mucosa, high power. The peg cells project above the ciliary border (cilia are relatively short), therefore this is probably from the late luteal phase (progestational) or very early follicular (estrogenic) phase of the cycle.  

Slide 24: Ampulla near the isthmus. The thickness of the muscularis is increased and the mucosa is less folded.  

Slide 25: Isthmus of oviduct very close to the uterus. Very few mucosal folds and a thick muscularis.  

Slide 26: High power of slide 25. Note the thick muscular layer and simple mucosa.  

Slide 27: Intrauterine portion of the oviduct (also called intramural). The obliquely arranged musculature is that of the uterine wall.  

Slide 28: Uterus, very low power. This image shows the entire myometrium and endometrium of a uterus in the late secretory phase, just prior to menstruation. Note the thickness of the myometrium.  

Slide 29: Endometrium, early post menstrual. This slide shows the simple nature of the epithelium of the straight, proliferating glands and uterine luminal lining. No evidence of accumulated glycogen or secretory product is visible in the cells of these glands yet. Note the typical, very cellular, endometrial stroma.  

Slide 30: Endometrium, early proliferative. The endometrium is increasing in thickness, the glands remain relatively straight. The endometrial surface is not shown in this field.  

Slide 31: Early secretory endometrium. Note the basal glycogen in the gland cells but not in surface epithelial cells. The surface cells of the endometrium do not show the cyclic changes that the gland cells do.  

Slide 32: Early secretory endometrium. Note spiral arteriole, basal glycogen in the gland cells but not in the surface epithelial cells. The surface cells of the endometrium do not show cyclic changes. Human.  

Slide 33: The left panel shows early secretory endometrium and the myometrium at low power. The right panel shows a high mag. of the functionalis of the endometrium with secretory product in the glands and the highly cellular stroma (basalis not in the field), plastic embedded section.  

Slide 34: Endometrium, late secretory, low power. The endometrial glands are dilated and tortuous in the spongy part of the functionalis layer. Little change can be seen in the compact part of the functionalis and in the basalis.  

Slide 35: High power of slide 33. Compare the gland epithelium with the surface. Note the cellularity of the stroma and locate the spiral arteriole. Plastic embedded section.  

Slide 36: High power of secretory phase. Compare gland epithelium in functionalis (secretory, to the left) and basalis regions (non-secreting, to the right).  

Slide 37: High power of a secretory phase gland of the endometrium (dilated with product) and the pre-decidual stroma. Plastic embedded section.  

Slide 38: Early menstrual endometrium with pooled blood.  

Slide 39: Endometrium, menstrual,low power. During the menstrual phase of the cycle the functionalis layer is sloughed into the uterine lumen. In this image most of it is gone.  

Slide 40: Endometrium, post-menopausal. The endometrium becomes reduced to the basal portion covered by a layer of flattened epithelial cells.  

Slide 41: Myometrium, low power. Non-pregnant uterus (human). Bundles of smooth muscle cells interlace.  

Slide 42: Vagina with its light staining (glycogen accumulation) stratified squamous epithelium which is lightly keratinized (therefore probably from a woman in the follicular phase of her cycle). See the next slide for a higher mag. image demonstrating this. The underlying stroma shows the extensive venous plexus (which dilates during sexual stimulation) which is characteristic of the vagina but not always as evident. The muscularis of the vagina is not in the section.  

Slide 43: Vagina. The stratified epithelium is described as non-keratinized, although it achieves a degree of keratinization by the mid-point of the menstrual cycle.  

Slide 44: Cervix and vagina of a monkey. Even at this l.p. the vaginal epithelium and the complex mucous glands of the cervical canal are identifiable.  

Slide 45: Lining epithelium and mucous glands, monkey cervical canal.  

Slide 46: Cervix, near the os - a section near the fornix where the transition from the columnar epithelium of the canal to stratified squamous epithelium has been completed.  

Slide 47: Buccal smear, all cells the same essentially.  

Slide 48: Cervical smear, Pap stain. Cells are varied in size and shape. Red stained cells are the most mature.  

Slide 49: Immature. In this breast the gland is comprised of many duct elements but almost no secretory elements. The ducts of one lobule are surrounded by a small amount of loose connective tissue (c.t.) and separated from other lobules by dense fibrous c.t. Small amounts of adipose tissue also occurs between lobules. After puberty the degree of glandular development and amount of adipose tissue in the inactive or resting breast depends upon the age of the individual, the time of the menstrual cycle and whether or not the individual has been previously pregnant.  

Slide 50: Inactive (quiescent) gland of a woman who was pregnant before. The ducts are more extensive than in an immature gland.  

Slide 51: Proliferating, low power. During pregnancy there is proliferation of the duct system, with the eventual formation of alveoli. A small amount of ductal growth, under hormonal influence, occurs during each menstrual cycle. But proliferation does not become marked until pregnancy. First the ducts and then the secretory elements (alveoli) are formed. The dense fibrous c.t. forms septae between the lobules and the amount of adipose tissue is reduced.  

Slide 52: Proliferating, very low power. This tissue has undergone more proliferation than the mammary gland in slide 51.  

Slide 53: Secreting mammary gland. Note that some lobules contain more secretion than others. This is at a mag. comparable to slide 52: compare them. This typical of the appearance at about 8 or 8.5 months of pregnancy.  

Slide 54: Active or secreting. The active gland has large numbers of alveoli, many containing secretion in the lumen. Interlobular ducts are seen in the c.t. between lobules.  

Slide 55: Lobe of an active gland at higher power. The alveoli are lined by a cuboidal epithelium with underlying myoepithelial cells (not identifiable at this mag.). Only a small amount of loose c.t. separates the alveoli from their neighbors within one lobule. While superfically the gland appears similar to the thyroid, the confined, irregular alveoli, less rich vascular supply, dense c.t. septa and ducts are distinguishing features.  

Slide 56: High power of slide 55, lactating gland. Note the irregular luminal surfaces (due to the apocrine and merocrine secretory processes) and the basal myoepithelial nuclei (seen especially well in the duct at the top right).  

Slide 57: Term placenta, very low power. This slide shows a cross section through the placenta from fetal side (on the right) to maternal side (left). Locate the chorionic plate, sections through the chorionic villi and the decidua basilis. Portions of two large stem villi containing fetal blood vessels are present.  

Slide 58: High power of fetal side of slide 57 showing the origin of a stem villus containing fetal blood vessels.  

Slide 59: High power of the maternal side of slide 57 showing a large maternal artery of the decidua basalis cuffed by decidual cells, and the attachment of several anchoring villi.  

Slide 60: High power of smaller branches of placental villi ("twigs" or terminal villi). Even at this mag. note the clumping of the synctiotrophoblast nuclei and the hyalinization of the extraembryonic mesoderm in some of the terminal villi.  

Slide 61: Placenta, 1st trimester. Compare with slides 59 and 60. Note the diameter of the villi and the lack of small "twigs".  

Slide 62: High power slide of a 1st semester placenta. Note the location of the maternal blood. See the next slide for a higher mag.  

Slide 63: High power slide 62. Note the cytotrophoblast cells beneath the syncytiotrophoblast,and the appearance of the extraembryonic mesoderm in the villi. Locate some possible Hofbauer cells (hint: cells in the villi with large vacuoles in their cytoplasm).  

Slide 64: Term villi - note the blood vessels (filled with erythrocytes) and the "knots" of syncytiotrophoblast. Plastic embedded section.  

Slide 65: Uterus of a woman taking oral contraceptives, low power. In this case endometrial changes occur, but the extent and timing are dependent upon the combination of hormones in "the pill". Here it appears to be in early proliferative stage.  

Slide 66: Higher power of the endometrium of slide 65.


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