Difference between Mullerian Duct and Wolffian Duct

Mullerian Duct

Mullerian duct, also known as paramesonephric duct, is a paired embryological structure that gives rise to female internal genitalia. It develops to form the cervix, uterus, upper one thirds of the vagina and both fallopian tubes.

The mullerian duct is present in embryos of both the sexes, but they develop only in females and degenerate in the males. The developing testes in the males produces anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) that ceases the development of female reproductive organs in males.

The AMH is not secreted in the females. The paramesonephric and mesonephric ducts arise in an embryo in about 9 weeks. The mesonephric ducts degenerate due to absence of male androgens.

Dysfunction in the development of mullerian ducts can lead to anomalies in the uterus, such as vaginal agenesis, growth of unwanted cells and abnormalities in the axial skeletal and renal system.

The mullerian ducts are named after a German physiologist Johannes Peter Müller who described them in 1830.

Wolffian Duct

Wolffian ducts, also known as mesonephric ducts, are a paired embryological structure that give rise to internal male genitalia. They develop into vas deferens, seminal vesicles and epididymis.

The ducts develop into the structures under the influence of male androgens such as testosterone. The ducts are named after a German physiologist Caspar Friedrich Wolff who described it in 1759.

In some species of amphibians the duct develops to carry both sperm and urine, however in advanced vertebrates the duct develops into structures of male reproductive system – vas deferens and epididymis.

Improper development of the ducts can lead to congenital absence of the vas deferens, and mutations in the androgen receptor can present with the development of female genitalia.

Mullerian vs Wolffian Duct

Mullerian Duct

Wolffian Duct

Description

The Mullerian duct is a paired embryological structure that gives rise to female reproductive organs.

The Wolffian duct is a paired embryological structure that gives rise to male reproductive organs.

Develops in to

The Mullerian duct develops into the cervix, upper one thirds of vagina, both the fallopian tubes and uterus.

The Wolffian duct develops into the seminal vesicles, epididymis and vas deferens.

Alternate Name

Paramesonephric duct.

Mesonephric duct.

Influence of Anti-Mullerian Hormone

The absence of AMH leads to the development of female genitalia.

The presence of AMH leads to the regression of paramesonephric ducts, which would have otherwise developed into female genitalia.

Influence of Testosterone

Testosterone has no influence on the development of Mullerian ducts.

The presence of testosterone guides the development of vas deferens and epididymis.

Associated Disorders

Vaginal agenesis

Congenital absence of vas deferens

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Frequently Asked Questions on Difference between Mullerian Duct and Wolffian Duct

Do females have Wolffian ducts?

Females have Wolffian ducts in their embryos but they regenerate with time.

What does the Müllerian duct differentiate into?

The Mullerian duct differentiates into the cervix, the fallopian tubes and upper one thirds of the vagina.

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