Growth pattern of the sex ducts in foetal mouse hermaphrodites.J Embryol Exp Morphol. 1983 Feb; 73:59-68.JE
In this report the morphology of the gonads and the growth of the Wolffian and Müllerian duct in foetal mouse true hermaphrodites (16 days p.c.) have been studied and compared to that of normal mice. The ducts from the hermaphrodites were placed in one of five groups according to the proportion of male and female characteristic of the gonad. When more than 85% of the gonadal tissue was masculine, the Wolffian ducts showed the same percentage of cells in mitosis (mitotic index, MI) as normal males. The MI of the Wolffian ducts was lower, but constant, if the gonad contained between 0 and 85% of testicular tissue. The number of Leydig cells in the gonads showed a linear relationship with the percentage of testicular tissue. Apparently, the MI of the Wolffian duct does not increase with increasing 'maleness' and with the number of Leydig cells. Four possibilities are put forward to explain the constant level of MI: (1) The Leydig cells of hermaphrodites may be deficient in producing testosterone. (2) The Leydig cells may produce testosterone at a normal rate but the epithelial cells of the Wolffian duct may not respond to increasing levels of testosterone by increasing their mitotic activity. (3) The presence of female gonadal tissue may directly or indirectly inhibit the mitotic activity of the epithelial cells of the Wolffian duct. (4) The epithelial cells of the Wolffian duct may respond to a low threshold level of testosterone, but maximal response is only triggered by a critical higher hormone level present only in group V. In hermaphrodites, the Wolffian duct attached to a gonad without testicular tissue and without Leydig cells, has a MI which is significantly to a gonad without testicular tissue and without Leydig cells, has a MI which is significantly higher than in normal females. It is suggested that circulating testosterone from the contralateral gonad is responsible for this high MI. In the Müllerian duct a mitotic index similar to that of the normal females was only found when the gonad contained from 0 to 15% of testicular tissue. If a gonad contained more than 15% of testicular tissue, the MI of the attached Müllerian duct was much lower equalizing that of normal males. No influence on the growth of the Müllerian duct could be observed from the contralateral gonad.