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Germinal epithelium (female)
Ovaire 1.JPG
Diagram in French. "Epithelium ovarien" labeled at upper right.
Section of the ovary. 1. Germinal epithelium. 2. Central stroma. 3. Peripheral stroma. 4. Bloodvessels. 5. Vesicular follicles in their earliest stage. 6, 7, 8. More advanced follicles. 9. An almost mature follicle. 9'. Follicle from which the ovum has escaped. 10. Corpus luteum.

The surface of the ovary is covered by a layer of simple cuboidal cells which constitutes the germinal epithelium of Waldeyer.[1]

These cells are derived from the mesoderm during embryonic development and are closely related to the mesothelium of the peritoneum. The germinal epithelium gives the ovary a dull gray color as compared with the shining smoothness of the peritoneum; and the transition between the mesothelium of the peritoneum and the columnar cells which cover the ovary is usually marked by a line around the anterior border of the ovary.

The germinal epithelium gives rise to primary follicles and is the main origin of tumors in the ovaries.


  1. ^ Nishida T, Nishida N (2006). "Reinstatement of "germinal epithelium" of the ovary". Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 4: 42. doi:10.1186/1477-7827-4-42. PMID 16923182. 

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This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained within it may be outdated.

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