Glossary of Female Reproductive physiology

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What are the primary female reproductive organs?
the ovaries (gonads)
-Produce germ cells (ova)
-Produce steroid hormones
What steroid hormones are produced by the ovaries?
What are the 4 female accesory reproductive organs?
What are their functions collectively?
-Fallopian tubes
All function to transport ovum, unite sperm/egg, and maintain the embryo/fetus.
How are the ovaries built structurally?
with an outer medulla and inner cortex; about 1 in. long
In the ovaries, what resides in
-the medulla?
-the cortex?
Medulla: blood vessels, lymphatics and connective tissue
What is a follile?
where the eggs exist as they develop in prep for ovulation.
How are the ovaries regulated hormonally?
-Higher brain centers stimulated by age/environment/emotion.
-Stimulates GnRH from hypothal
-Stimulates LH and FSH release from the anterior pituitary
-FSH/LH stimulate ovary release of Estradiol/progest
What is the feedback of Estradiol and Progesterone like?
Negative on hypothal/pituitary and higher brain at low conc.

Estradiol is positive feedback at high concentrations.
What extra hormone causes negative feedback on FSH release from the pituitary?
Inhibin - it is a peptide hormone.
In what type of pattern is GnRH released?
In pulses; so it's not constant or continuous, therefore FSH and LH can be released.
What happens to LH and FSH release when GnRH is released CONTINUOUSLY instead of in pulses?
They are inhibited and not released.
What are the 2 functions of FSH?
1. Stimulation of follicle growth and development
2. Regulation of steroid synthesis (estradiol)
What is LH responsible for? (3)
1. Ovulation induction
2. Synthesis of steroids (all of them - estradiol/progest/testos)
3. Maintaining corpus luteum.
When does oogenesis occur?
ONLY in fetal development in utero!
What type of oocytes are present at birth in a female baby?
all PRIMARY oocytes - they have 46 chromosomes/cell because stuck in the first step of mitosis.
what happens to the oocytes at birth?
the first meiotic division into a 2ndary oocyte.
What type of oocyte gets ovulated?
How many chromosomes/cell does it have?
a 2ndary oocyte.

23 - half the amt in a primary.
What type of oocytes does a
-FETUS have?
-BABY have?
Fetus - in uteru - has primary oocytes only.

Baby - after birth - has 2ndary oocytes only.
What are POLAR bodies?
small oocytes with no cytoplasm and no function; they degenerate.
When do polar bodies develop?
After puberty, when 2ndary oocytes undergo a 2nd meitoci division to produce ova.
How does the resting pool of oocytes in a woman change over her lifetime?
about 1 million at birth
200,000 at puberty
none left at menopause.
What are the steps in follicular development?
1. Oocyte develops into primordial follicle.
2. Primordial -> primary foll.
3. Primary -> Preantral
4. Preantral -> Mature
A mature follicle is also called a Graafian follicle.
What is the primordial follicle made up of?
the Oocyte, surrounded by granulosa cells.
What is the primary follicle made of?
Grown oocyte, surrounded by a
-Zona pellucida
-Granulosa cells.
What are Theca?

When do they first show up?
layers that surround the granulosa cells; important in their estrogen secretion.
-First seen in PREANTRAL follicle.
What develops in the Early antral follicle?
a fluid filled cavity, the ANTRUM.
What happens as the antral cavity gets really big?
the mature oocyte undergoes its 2nd meiotic division into the 2ndary oocyte; gets ovulated.
What hormone causes ovulation?
Estradiol - in high concentrations, it causes an LH surge.
What makes one follicle become dominant over the others, chosen to be ovulated?
Whichever one has the most receptors for FSH; b/c FSH causes follicular development.
How do fraternal twins get fertilized?
When 2 oocytes develop and neither is dominant to the other.
What happens to the follicle after ovulation?
It becomes corpus luteum.
What is corpus luteum for?
maintaining pregnancy by secreting hormones.
What happens to the corpus luteum if there is no pregnancy?
It shrivels up into Corpus albicans (no, not Candida albicans)
How do you know how many menstrual cycles an old woman has had in her life?
by counting the corpus albicans in her ovaries
So in the Grafian(mature) follicle, before ovulation, what happens to the oocyte within the Antral cavity?
It seperates from the follicle wall (along with the cumulus oophorus it is sitting on top of) and floats inside the antral fluid.
based on how the follicle and corpus luteum develop then, what are the two phases of the menstrual cycle?
Follicular - during its development;

Luteal - after ovulation until corpus luteum dies.
what is the starting building block for the synthesis of ovarian steroids?
What is the source of it?
Source is LDLs in the blood.
What cells in the ovaries synthesize the ovarian steroids?
Theca and granulosa cells, in the follicle (actually in the corpus luteum)
What hormones cause sex steroid synthesis and regulate the process?
Luteinizing hormone
Follicle stimulating hormone
In the Theca and Granulosa cells, where are estradiol and Progesterone mainly produced?
In the granulosa cells.
What sex steroid is mainly produced in Theca cells?
How do Theca and Granulosa cells interact during steroid synthesis?
Theca cells produce Androstenedione and Testosterone which are needed to produce estradiol; Granulosa cells don't HAVE these precursors, so they cross the basement membrane from THECA -> Granulosa and THEN estradiol is made.
Which pituitary hormone acts on theca cells? Which act on granulosa cells?
only LH acts on Theca cells.

Both FSH and LH act on granulosa cells.
Why is progesterone produced later in the menstrual cycle?
Because its LH receptors on Granulosa cells don't appear until later, when MORE estrogen and progesterone are NEEDED.
Why are more estrogen/progesterone needed later?
to inhibit LH and FSH during the luteal phase.
What are the 7 actions of Estradiol?
1. Stimulates ovary/follicle growth
2. Thickens endometrium and myometrium.
3. Upregulates progesterone receptors
4. Stimulates extern. genitalia growth
5. Stimulates breast growth
6. Stim 2ndary sex characteristics to develop.
What are the 4 roles of Progesterone?
1. Converts the endometrium for implantation and pregancy.
2. Decreases contractions and cilia activity in the reproductive tract.
3. Downregulates estrogen receptors.
4. Stimulates breast developm.
What 2 roles does Testosterone fill in women?
1. Sexual drive
2. Axillary and pubic hair.
What is the myomtrium?

What is the endometrium?
the smooth muscle of the uterus.

the epithelial layer that thickens/is lost each month.
About how many weeks is the
-Follicular phase
-Luteal phase
Follic = about 2 wks.

Luteal = about 2 wks too.
What types of hormones are secreted by the corpus luteum?
Progestone, Estradiol, and Inhibin.
What day in the menstrual cycle does one follicle become dominant?
Day 7
What day does ovulation occur?
day 14 (2 wks)
what day does the corpus luteum begin to degenerate?
day 25
Why does the corpus luteum degenerate during the luteal phase?
because luteinizing hormone is decreased, because Estradiol and Progesterone are high, and they have negative feedback effects on LH.
Why is menstruation triggered?
Because the corpus luteum becomes so degraded it stops making progesterone.
Knowing that Estradiol increases during the follicular phase, how does it affect the thickness of the Endometrium?
Its thickness develops between the menses and ovulation.
When is the endometrium the thickest
at ovulation; it stays that way by progesterone/estrogen action.
when does the thick endometrium then begin to decline again?
When progest/estrogen decrease because the corpus luteum degenerates.

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