The Müllerian duct: recent insights into its development and regression

Sex Dev. 2007;1(5):271-8. doi: 10.1159/000108929.


Several recent publications have contributed to our understanding of the processes involved in development of the Müllerian ducts in both sexes and regression of these structures in male embryos. Additionally, new insights in the regulation of the anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) signaling pathway, the pathway, which mediates the male specific degeneration of Müllerian ducts, have been gained. It has become clear that the Müllerian duct is formed by invagination of the coelomic epithelium and elongates primarily by proliferation. Later on cells of the coelomic epithelium perform epithelial to mesenchymal transition and move around the epithelium of the Müllerian duct to induce degeneration of this structure in male embryos. Besides AMH and its specific type II receptor AMHR2 two different type I receptors as well as different SMAD family members have been shown to be involved in the AMH signaling cascade. Other factors including WT1, WNT7a, beta-catenin and MMP2 act upstream and downstream of AMH signaling. Here we try to draw an overall picture of Müllerian duct formation and regression by integrating the recent literature in the field.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Mullerian Hormone / physiology
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mullerian Ducts / anatomy & histology
  • Mullerian Ducts / growth & development*
  • Mullerian Ducts / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Anti-Mullerian Hormone