Send to

Choose Destination
Dev Biol. 2009 Jan 1;325(1):6-14. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2008.10.012. Epub 2008 Nov 1.

Development and morphogenesis of the Wolffian/epididymal duct, more twists and turns.

Author information

Department of Veterinary Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL 61802, USA.


The epididymis serves a critical function of preparing the male germ cells for fertilization. In order for the epididymis to carry out this role it must undergo a highly coordinated succession of molecular and morphogenic events during development. These events begin with the formation of the Wolffian or nephric duct, the embryonic precursor of the male reproductive system, and end with the three-dimensional coiled postnatal epididymis that is comprised of several distinctly functional segments. How the duct changes from a simple straight tube to a highly convoluted structure will be the focus of this article. In reviewing the literature's current understanding of epididymal morphogenesis, we will highlight some of the classic morphological studies and discuss some of the more recent genetic models that have all served to contribute to our understanding of this system. Where published information is scarce we will provide potential hypotheses that warrant further investigation and may open up new directions of exploration using the epididymis as a model for tubular morphogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center