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The female urethra is a short tube connecting the urinary bladder to an external opening, the clitoral fossa, in the clitoris, which is, in the female mouse, a large elevation cranial to the opening of the vagina. The wall of the urethra consists of, from inside to outside, urinary epithelium (transitional epithelium or urothelium), a vascular, dense fibrous lamina propria, a muscularis interna of circularly arranged smooth muscle, a muscularis externa of longitudinally arranged smooth muscle, and an adventitia of loose connective tissue. At the neck of the bladder skeletal muscle has replaced the smooth muscle. Posterior to the neck of the urinary bladder the connective tissue of the lateral and ventral sides of the female urethra contains urethral glands. In Chapter 6. Male Reproductive System, the male urethra is described.
The micrographs illustrate the female urethra. The 4X micrograph depicts a cross section of the female urethra and a portion of the vagina with its stratified squamous epithelium. The 10X micrograph shows that the mucosa is strongly folded. The urinary epithelium and well-vascularized lamina propria are depicted in increasing detail in the 10X, 20X, and 40X micrographs. The 40X micrograph provides details of the urinary epithelium with its cuboidal superficial cells and cuboidal to columnar basal cells.
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