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Histology Study Guide
Male Reproductive System

[Female System]


The male tract begins with the testis, leads through the windings of the epididymis, then through the vas deferens, past a gland called the seminal vesicle, through the prostate by way of the ejaculatory duct, into the prostatic urethra, and finally through the penis in the penile urethra.

The testis is a gland-like structure consisting of many seminiferous tubules embedded in relatively sparse interstitial tissue.

The epididymis encompasses the initial portion of the epididymal duct which conducts sperm from the testis to the urethra.

The vas deferens is the relatively straight, muscular portion of the duct which carries sperm cells from the epididymis to the ejaculatory duct.

The seminal vesicle is a gland which contributes most of the volume to the seminal fluid, including nutrients (notably fructose) for the sperm cells.

The ejaculatory duct passes through the prostate, beginning at the the confluence of the vas deferens with the duct of the seminal vesicle and continuing to the prostatic urethra.

The prostate is a complex of tubular glands embedded in a thick fibromuscular stroma.

Bulbourethral glands, also called Cowper's glands (named after William Cowper, b. 1666), are small mucous glands which open into the urethra just distal to the prostate (for images, see Webpath, here).

Periurethral glands of Littre (named after Alexis Littre, b. 1654) are very small mucous glands found more distally along the urethra, especially within the penis.  Littre's glands are nicely illustrated in the "penis" slide at Histology Guide.

The penis contains erectile tissue, a specialized arrangement of arteries, shunts, and vascular sinusoids which permit erection.

Comments and questions:

SIUC / School of Medicine / Anatomy / David King
Last updated:  31 January 2023 / dgk