Ductus Deferens

The ductus deferens is the longest part of the excurrent duct system

The ductus deferens (vas deferens) is a direct continuation of the tail of the epididymis (see Fig. 21.1). It ascends along the posterior border of the testis, close to the testicular vessels and nerves. It then enters the abdomen as a component of the spermatic cord, by passing through the inguinal canal. The spermatic cord contains all of the structures that pass to and from the testis. In addition to the ductus deferens, the spermatic cord contains the testicular artery, small arteries to the ductus deferens and cremaster muscle, the pampiniform plexus, lymphatic vessels, sympathetic nerve fibers, and the genital branch of the genitofemoral nerve. All of these structures are surround by fascial coverings derived from the anterior abdominal wall. After leaving the spermatic cord, the ductus deferens descends in the pelvis to the level of the bladder, where its distal end enlarges to form the ampulla. The ampulla is joined there by the duct of the seminal vesicle and continues through the prostate gland to the urethra as the ejaculatory duct.

The ductus deferens is lined with a pseudostratified columnar epithelium that closely resembles that of the epididymis. The tall columnar cells also have long microvilli that extend into the lumen. The rounded basal cells rest on the basal lamina. Unlike the epididymis, however, the lumen of the duct does not appear smooth. In histologic preparations (Fig. 21.25), it appears to be thrown into deep longitudinal folds throughout most of its length, probably because of contraction of the thick (1 to 1.5 mm) muscular coat of the duct during fixation.

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