The mesonephric duct (also known as the Wolffian duct, archinephric duct, Leydig's duct or nephric duct) is a paired organ that forms during the embryonic development of humans and other mammals and gives rise to male reproductive organs.
|Gives rise to||vas deferens, seminal vesicles, epididymis|
|Latin||ductus mesonephricus; ductus Wolffi|
The mesonephric duct connects the primitive kidney, the mesonephros, to the cloaca. It also serves as the primordium for male urogenital structures including the epididymis, vas deferens, and seminal vesicles.
In both male and female the mesonephric duct develops into the trigone of urinary bladder, a part of the bladder wall, but the sexes differentiate in other ways during development of the urinary and reproductive organs.
In a male, it develops into a system of connected organs between the efferent ducts of the testis and the prostate, namely the epididymis, the vas deferens, and the seminal vesicle. The prostate forms from the urogenital sinus and the efferent ducts form from the mesonephric tubules.
For this it is critical that the ducts are exposed to testosterone during embryogenesis. Testosterone binds to and activates androgen receptor, affecting intracellular signals and modifying the expression of numerous genes.
In the female, with the absence of anti-Müllerian hormone secretion by the Sertoli cells and subsequent Müllerian apoptosis, the mesonephric duct regresses, although inclusions may persist. The epoophoron and Skene's glands may be present. Also, lateral to the wall of the vagina a Gartner's duct or cyst could develop as a remnant.