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corpus luteum


Definition: the yellow endocrine body, at least 1–1.5 cm in diameter, formed in the ovary at the site of a ruptured ovarian follicle immediately after ovulation; there is an early stage of proliferation and vascularization before full maturity; later, there is a festooned, bright-yellowish lutein zone traversed by trabeculae of theca interna containing numerous blood vessels; the corpus luteum secretes estrogen, as the follicle did, and also secretes progesterone. If pregnancy does not occur, the body is called a corpus luteum spurium (corpus luteum of menstruation), which undergoes progressive retrogression to a corpus albicans. If pregnancy does occur, the body is called a corpus luteum verum (corpus luteum of pregnancy), which increases in size, persisting to the fifth or sixth month of pregnancy before retrogression.

Synonym(s): yellow body

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© Copyright 2018 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review date: Sep 19, 2016.