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Chapter 15. Female Reproductive System

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The pathologist has just received a biopsy specimen taken from the ovary of a normal healthy female. The ovarian cortex contains only atretic follicles and corpora albicantia. What is the age of the patient this biopsy specimen was most likely taken from?

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A. 1-month old neonate

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B. 9-year old prepubescent girl

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C. 25-year old woman

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D. 45-year old premenopausal woman

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E. 65-year old postmenopausal woman

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The answer is E: Maturation of follicles ceases at menopause and the remaining follicles die by atresia. Thus, the ovary of a postmenopausal woman will contain corpora albicantia, the remnants of follicles that were ovulated during her reproductive years, and atretic follicles. Atresia of follicles occurs throughout a woman's life, but maturation of follicles does not begin until puberty. Thus, the ovary from a neonate or prepubescent girl will contain only primordial and atretic follicles, whereas the ovary of a 25-year old woman or a 45-year old premenopausal woman will contain follicles at all stages of maturation.

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Refer to the micrograph below when answering the following question.

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Image not available.

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What is the effect on this organ of the failure to establish a pregnancy during an ovarian cycle?

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A. The region designated by letter A becomes ischemic and is sloughed off as menses.

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B. The region designated by letter B becomes ischemic and atrophies.

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C. The region designated by letter C becomes ischemic and is sloughed off as menses.

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D. The region designated by letter D becomes ischemic and is sloughed off as menses.

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The answer is C: If pregnancy does not occur, the corpus luteum ceases to function and progesterone levels decrease. The decrease in progesterone causes the spiral arteries to constrict, which causes the functional layer of the endometrium (C) to become ischemic and slough off as menses. The basal layer of the endometrium (D) remains intact and proliferates to restore the functional layer. The myometrium (B) undergoes only minor changes during the ovarian cycle.

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Refer to the micrograph below when answering the following question.

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Image not available.

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What stimulates the glands in this organ, noted with the *, to secrete during the secretory phase of the ovarian cycle?

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A. Androgens produced by granulosa cells of the graafian follicle

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B. Androgens produced by granulosa lutein cells of the ...

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