The embryologic development of the human vagina.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Our present understanding of the sequence and mechanisms of human genital organogenesis is reviewed. Current theories about the derivation of the vaginal epithelium are examined and tested against two anomalous circumstances, congenital androgen insensitivity and agenesis of the lower vagina, which are presented as examples demonstrating the respective participation of the urogenital sinus or of the Müllerian ducts alone in the developmental process. The abnormalities recently described in the vagina and cervix of girls exposed in utero to diethylstilbestrol (DES) correspond remarkably with those encountered in lower vaginal agenesis, particularly with regard to the presence of vaginal adenosis, the deficiency of glycogen in the squamous cells (squamous metaplasia), and the abnormal response of the squamous epithelium to Schiller's iodine test. It is concluded that the development of the human vagina is best explained by the theory which holds that the Müllerian ducts in fetal life extend caudally to the level of the future hymen. After fusion of these ducts, squamous cells arising in the epithelium of the urogenital sinus invade from below, advance, and replace completely the Müllerian mucosa up to the level of the external os of the cervical canal.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ulfelder, H; Robboy, SJ

Published Date

  • December 1, 1976

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 126 / 7

Start / End Page

  • 769 - 776

PubMed ID

  • 1033667

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0002-9378

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/0002-9378(76)90666-9


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States