Timing and irreversibility of Müllerian duct inhibition in the embryonic reproductive tract of the human male.
A study was undertaken to determine (1) the effects of endogenous Müllerian inhibiting substance (MIS) on the developing human fetal genital tract; (2) the time in fetal life when MIS is first capable of inhibiting the growth of the embryonic Müllerian ducts; and (3) the reversibility of the effects of MIS on the developing male Müllerian ducts. Human fetal reproductive tracts were transplanted and grown for sustained periods in vivo in athymic nude mice. The genital tracts from 12 male human fetuses, ages 51 to 68 days postovulation, were grafted without their associated gonads into castrated murine hosts and grown for 30 to 70 days. Controls consisted of genital tracts from 8 female human fetuses, ages day 53 to 70 that were grown under identical conditions. Male specimens grew to approximately one-half the size of female specimens and disclosed varying degrees of inhibition of the Müllerian duct system from absence of the Müllerian ducts in older specimens (after Day 63) to poorly segregated segments of stroma as the mildest defect (less than Day 61). It is concluded that (1) MIS secretion by the embryonic testes probably begins before Day 51 of gestation; (2) the effects of MIS are progressive during the so-called critical window; (3) the effects of MIS are permanent; and (4) the mesenchyme is an important target of MIS.
Taguchi, O; Cunha, GR; Lawrence, WD; Robboy, SJ
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