Vagina Development

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Contents

Introduction

Section through newborn female

The embryonic origin of the vagina has been a historically hotly debated issue with several different contributions and origins described. Current molecular studies show the whole vagina is derived from the Müllerian duct with bone morphogenic protein 4 (BMP4) reshaping the intermediate mesoderm-derived Müllerian duct into the vaginal primordium.[1]

One description shows the vagina arising by downward growth of Wolffian and Mullerian ducts. The sinovaginal bulbs are the caudal ends of the Wolffian ducts. Vaginal development is also under negative control of androgens. An earlier understanding was that the upper part of the vagina derived from Müllerian ducts and the lower part from the sinovaginal bulbs (formed by fusion form the vaginal plate) all derived from the urogenital sinus. The terms sinovaginal bulbs and vaginal plate were first coined by Koff in 1933.[2]

The model rodent vagina has a dual origins, cranial part is from the Müllerian duct and caudal part from the urogenital sinus. Acién's hypothesis, relates to abnormalities and the embryology of the human vagina as deriving from the Wolffian ducts and the Müllerian tubercle.


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Historic Embryology: 1912 Urinogenital Organ Development | 1921 Urogenital Development | 1921 External Genital Development | Historic Disclaimer | Uterus Development Animation

Some Recent Findings

Historic image
  • Normal and abnormal epithelial differentiation in the female reproductive tract[3] "In mammals, the female reproductive tract (FRT) develops from a pair of paramesonephric or Müllerian ducts (MDs), which arise from coelomic epithelial cells of mesodermal origin. During development, the MDs undergo a dynamic morphogenetic transformation from simple tubes consisting of homogeneous epithelium and surrounding mesenchyme into several distinct organs namely the oviduct, uterus, cervix and vagina."
  • Vaginal microbiome of reproductive-age women[4] "The means by which vaginal microbiomes help prevent urogenital diseases in women and maintain health are poorly understood. To gain insight into this, the vaginal bacterial communities of 396 asymptomatic North American women who represented four ethnic groups (white, black, Hispanic, and Asian) were sampled and the species composition characterized by pyrosequencing of barcoded 16S rRNA genes. The communities clustered into five groups: four were dominated by Lactobacillus iners, L. crispatus, L. gasseri, or L. jensenii, whereas the fifth had lower proportions of lactic acid bacteria and higher proportions of strictly anaerobic organisms, indicating that a potential key ecological function, the production of lactic acid, seems to be conserved in all communities. The proportions of each community group varied among the four ethnic groups, and these differences were statistically significant [χ(2)(10) = 36.8, P < 0.0001]. Moreover, the vaginal pH of women in different ethnic groups also differed and was higher in Hispanic (pH 5.0 ± 0.59) and black (pH 4.7 ± 1.04) women as compared with Asian (pH 4.4 ± 0.59) and white (pH 4.2 ± 0.3) women."

Paramesonephic Duct Development

The paired paramesonephic ducts (Müllerian ducts) go through a series of developmental changes recently identified as regulated by a number of molecular factors.

Initiation

Coelomic epithelium Lim1 expressing cells are specified to a duct fate.

  • Lim - proteins named for 'LIN11, ISL1, and MEC3,' are defined by the possession of a highly conserved double zinc finger motif called the LIM domain.
    • LIM domain-binding factors - interact with the LIM domains of nuclear proteins are capable of binding to a variety of transcription factors.

Invagination

Duct invagination induced by Wnt4 to reach the mesonephric (Wolffian)

Elongation

Cells at the leading tip proliferate and form the duct elongating to reach the cloaca (urogenital sinus). Mesonephric secretes WNT9b to guide duct elongation. Pax2 also acts in elongation and duct maintenance.

  • WNT9b - member of the WNT protein family that encode cysteine-rich secreted glycoproteins that act as extracellular signaling factors.
  • Pax2 - member of the paired box protein family.


Links: OMIM - WNT9b | OMIM - Pax2 | OMIM - paired box gene

Postnatal Development

A study in mouse has identified Dicer, a riboendonuclease required for microRNA biosynthesis, to be required for postnatal growth if the female reproductive tract.[5]

Adult Dimensions

A recent study using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has accurately measured the dimensions of the adult vagina.[6]

"Seventy-seven MRI scans were performed on 28 women before gel application to establish baseline vaginal measurements. Average dimensions were calculated for each woman and for the population. The influence of potential covariates (age, height, weight and parity) on these dimensions was assessed. ...Mean vaginal length from cervix to introitus was 62.7 mm. Vaginal width was largest in the proximal vagina (32.5 mm), decreased as it passed through the pelvic diaphragm (27.8 mm) and smallest at the introitus (26.2 mm)."

Abnormalities

Magnetic resonance image (Axial T2-W) OHVIRA syndrome showing uterine didelphys, obstructed hemivagina, and ectopic ureter on MR imaging in a 17-year-old girl.

Mayer- Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome

(MRKH) Abnormality of development of the female genital tract: partial or complete absence (agenesis) of the uterus; absent or hypoplastic vagina; normal fallopian tubes, ovaries, normal external genitalia and normal female chromosome pattern (46, XX). Has an incidence of approximately 1 in 4500 newborn girls and has been associated with a microdeletion at 17q12.[7]

OHVIRA Syndrome

Obstructed HemiVagina and Ipsilateral Renal Anomaly with uterine didelphysis is a syndrome due to lateral non-fusion of the Mullerian ducts with asymmetric obstruction. The presence of vaginal septum also gives rise to other clinical conditions.

OHVIRA Syndrome Magnetic Resonance Images

Endocrine Disruptors

Endocrine disruptors in female reproductive tract development and carcinogenesis.[8]


Additional Images

Historic

References

  1. Yi Cai Revisiting old vaginal topics: conversion of the Müllerian vagina and origin of the "sinus" vagina. Int. J. Dev. Biol.: 2009, 53(7);925-34 PMID:19598112
  2. A K Koff Development of the vagina in the human fetus. Contrib Embryol: 1933, 24(140);59-91 PMID:12332362
  3. Takeshi Kurita Normal and abnormal epithelial differentiation in the female reproductive tract. Differentiation: 2011, 82(3);117-26 PMID:21612855
  4. Jacques Ravel, Pawel Gajer, Zaid Abdo, G Maria Schneider, Sara S K Koenig, Stacey L McCulle, Shara Karlebach, Reshma Gorle, Jennifer Russell, Carol O Tacket, Rebecca M Brotman, Catherine C Davis, Kevin Ault, Ligia Peralta, Larry J Forney Vaginal microbiome of reproductive-age women. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.: 2011, 108 Suppl 1();4680-7 PMID:20534435
  5. Gabriel Gonzalez, Richard R Behringer Dicer is required for female reproductive tract development and fertility in the mouse. Mol. Reprod. Dev.: 2009, 76(7);678-88 PMID:19197916
  6. Kurt T Barnhart, Adriana Izquierdo, E Scott Pretorius, David M Shera, Mayadah Shabbout, Alka Shaunik Baseline dimensions of the human vagina. Hum. Reprod.: 2006, 21(6);1618-22 PMID:16478763
  7. B Brambati, L Tului, G Simoni, M Travi Genetic diagnosis before the eighth gestational week. Obstet Gynecol: 1991, 77(2);318-21 PMID:1988902
  8. Liang Ma Endocrine disruptors in female reproductive tract development and carcinogenesis. Trends Endocrinol. Metab.: 2009, 20(7);357-63 PMID:19709900


Reviews

Yi Cai Revisiting old vaginal topics: conversion of the Müllerian vagina and origin of the "sinus" vagina. Int. J. Dev. Biol.: 2009, 53(7);925-34 PMID:19598112

Miranda Farage, Howard Maibach Lifetime changes in the vulva and vagina. Arch. Gynecol. Obstet.: 2006, 273(4);195-202 PMID:16208476

Audrey M Cummings, Robert J Kavlock Function of sexual glands and mechanism of sex differentiation. J Toxicol Sci: 2004, 29(3);167-78 PMID:15467266


Articles

Erica Deutscher, Humphrey Hung-Chang Yao Essential roles of mesenchyme-derived beta-catenin in mouse Müllerian duct morphogenesis. Dev. Biol.: 2007, 307(2);227-36 PMID:17532316

Silvana Guioli, Ryohei Sekido, Robin Lovell-Badge The origin of the Mullerian duct in chick and mouse. Dev. Biol.: 2007, 302(2);389-98 PMID:17070514

Akio Kobayashi, William Shawlot, Artur Kania, Richard R Behringer Requirement of Lim1 for female reproductive tract development. Development: 2004, 131(3);539-49 PMID:14695376

Ryozo Hashimoto Development of the human Müllerian duct in the sexually undifferentiated stage. Anat Rec A Discov Mol Cell Evol Biol: 2003, 272(2);514-9 PMID:12740945

Françoise Mornex [Combined gemcitabine and radiotherapy]. Bull Cancer: 2002, 89 Spec No();S127-33 PMID:12449044

Ellen Shapiro, Hongying Huang, Xue-Ru Wu New concepts on the development of the vagina. Adv. Exp. Med. Biol.: 2004, 545();173-85 PMID:15086027

Yi Cai Revisiting old vaginal topics: conversion of the Müllerian vagina and origin of the "sinus" vagina. Int. J. Dev. Biol.: 2009, 53(7);925-34 PMID:19598112

Philippe Sebe, Helga Fritsch, Josef Oswald, Christian Schwentner, Andreas Lunacek, Georg Bartsch, Christian Radmayr Fetal development of the female external urinary sphincter complex: an anatomical and histological study. J. Urol.: 2005, 173(5);1738-42; discussion 1742 PMID:15821572

U Drews Helper function of the Wolffian ducts and role of androgens in the development of the vagina. Sex Dev: 2007, 1(2);100-10 PMID:18391520


Search PubMed

Search Pubmed Oct 2010 "Vagina Embryology" All (3507) Review (251) Free Full Text (228)


Search Pubmed: Vagina Embryology | Vagina Development | vaginal plate development | Mullerian duct



Genital Links: Introduction | Lecture - Medicine | Lecture - Science | Online Practical | Primordial Germ Cell | Meiosis | Female | Ovary | Oocyte | Uterus | Vagina | Male | Testis | Spermatozoa | Prostate | Genital Movies | Abnormalities | Assisted Reproductive Technology | Puberty | Category:Genital
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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2014) Embryology Vagina Development. Retrieved April 23, 2014, from http://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php?title=Vagina_Development

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Dr Mark Hill 2014, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G
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