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Glossary Links

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Lymphatic system tonsil cartoon

Waldeyer's ring

Historical name for the anatomical "ring" of lymphoid tissue in the pharynx (adenoids, tubal tonsils, palatine tonsils, lingual tonsils). Named after Heinrich Wilhelm Gottfried von Waldeyer-Hartz (1836 - 1921) a German anatomist.
(More? Immune System Development)


A clinically prescribed anticoagulant chemical (inhibits synthesis of vitamin K dependent clotting factors, including factors II, VII, IX, and X, and the anticoagulant proteins C and S.1). It is contraindicated during pregnancy as crosses the placenta and increases the risk of warfarin syndrome, miscarriage and stillbirth. Warfarin is apparently compatible with breastfeeding.
(More? Australian Drug Categories | PMID 15383488)

warfarin syndrome

A fetal disorder caused by exposure of a fetus to warfarin (Coumadin), a drug used therapeutically as an anticoagulation chemical (inhibits synthesis of vitamin K dependent clotting factors, including factors II, VII, IX, and X, and the anticoagulant proteins C and S.1). The exact teratogenic effect of fetal damage from warfarin therapy during pregnancy is difficult to determine with variable impact on several different systems depending on the developmental window. Some examples include: nasal hypoplasia or stippled epiphyses, central nervous system abnormalities, and maternal and fetal haemorrhage.
(More? Australian Drug Categories | PMID 15383488 | Medline Plus - warfarin)

Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome

This syndrome is characterized by acute encephalopathy followed by chronic impairment of short-term memory, due to an inborn error of metabolism that is clinically important only with diet's inadequate in thiamine (thiamine deficiency alone is not sufficient to cause the syndrome).
Wharton's jelly histology
Wharton's jelly

Wharton's jelly

Placental cord (umbilical cord) gelatinous connective tissue composed of myofibroblast-like stromal cells, collagen fibers, and proteoglycans. Increases in volume (myxomatous, connective tissue embedded in mucus) at parturition (birth) to assist closure of placental blood vessels. Matrix cells from Wharton's jelly have recently been identified as a potential source of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC), also called mesenchymal stromal cell. This placental cord substance is named after Thomas Wharton (1614-1673) an English physician and anatomist who first described this placental tissue.
(More? Placenta Development | Placenta - Histology | Stem Cells)

Weibel-Palade body

(WPB) Cell biology term for cell structure visible by electron microscopy within endothelial cells. These membrane enclosed structures are endothelial specific secretory vesicles containing contain von Willebrand factor (VWF) and other proteins associated with inflammation, angiogenesis, and tissue repair. Organelle named after Ewald Weibel and George Palade who in 1964 first identified using transmission electron microscopy (EM).
(More? Cardiovascular System Development | PMID 6754744 | PMID 21266719)

Whitten Effect

Reproductive change in female mice either singly or housed together (in groups) can be induced into estrus by exposure to male mouse urine or their dirty bedding.
(More? Mouse Development | Mouse Estrous Cycle)

whooping cough

(pertussis, 100-day cough) See pertussis. Highly contagious bacterial (Bordetella pertussis) infection prevented by vaccination with the pertussis vaccine.
(More? Infectious Diseases School Exclusion | Bacterial Infection | CDC)

wild type

The genotype or phenotype that is found in normally in nature for a given organism.

William-Beuren syndrome

(WBS) A rare developmental disorder (1/20,000–1/50,000 live births) with a contiguous gene deletion resulting from the hemizygous deletion of several genes on chromosome 7q11.23. The syndrome has associated craniofacial abnormalities, hypersociability and visuospatial defects. OMIM: William-Beuren syndrome
(More? 2009 Lab - Muscle Development)

Wilms' tumour

A form of kidney/renal cancer (nephroblastoma) named after Dr Max Wilms who first described the tumor. This childhood kidney cancer is caused by the inactivation of a tumour suppressor gene (BRCA2) or Wilms tumor-1 gene (Wt1) and is one of the most common solid tumors of childhood, occurring in 1 in 10,000 children and accounting for 8% of childhood cancers. Wt1 also required at early stages of gonadal development.
(More? Kidney Abnormal Development | Kidney Development | OMIM - Wilm's tumour | Dr Max Wilms)

Wilms' tumor 1-associating protein

(WTAP) A protein expressed in extraembryonic tissues and required for the formation of embryonic mesoderm and endoderm.
(More? Wilm's tumour)

Wilson's disease

A rare genetic disorder of copper metabolism that causes primary hepatic cirrhosis, secondary menstrual abnormalities and infertility.

Wirsung's duct

(main pancreatic duct, MPD) An anatomical gastrointestinal duct located present in the body and tail of the adult pancreas connecting it to the duodenum. Embryonically, the duct initially forms within the dorsal pancreatic bud. Named after Johann Georg Wirsung (1589 - 1643) a German physician who worked as a prosector in Padua and discovered the duct in a cadaver in 1642. Note an accessory pancreatic duct (APD, or Santorini's duct) may be present as an anatomical variation due to the embryological origin of the pancreas from two pancreatic buds (dorsal and ventral).
(More? Gastrointestinal Tract Development | Lecture - Gastrointestinal Development | Endocrine - Pancreas Development)

witches' milk

Historic common term used to describe the postnatal effects of an estrogen increase on the neonatal breast, which leads to aberrant milk production. This increase is probably from loss of the negative feedback effects of steroids from the placenta.
(More? Postnatal Development | Placenta Development)

Witschi Standard Stages

A historic rat embryo staging system named after the author, one of several such embryo staging methods.
(More? Chicken Development | Hamburger Hamilton Stages | Carnegie Stages)


A secreted glycoprotein patterning switch with different roles in different tissues and signaling has generally been divided into the canonical and non-canonical pathways (Wnt/Ca2+ pathway). The name was derived from two drosophila phenotypes wingless and int and the gene was first defined as a protooncogene, int1. Humans have 19 identified members, with the major subgroup of Wnts (WNT1, WNT3A, WNT8) signaling through activation of beta-catenin dependent transcription from at least 4 WNT genes encoding secreted glycoproteins. Wnts bind to their respective cell surface frizzled (FZD) or low density lipoprotein-related protein (LRP) receptors. Wnt7a is secreted protein and binds to extracellular matrix. The mechanism of Wnt distribution (free diffusion, restricted diffusion and active transport) and all its possible cell receptors are still being determined. In the gastrointestinal system, Wnt maintains the pool of undifferentiated intestinal progenitor cells and control maturation and correct positioning of the Paneth cell (a differentiated intestinal cell type).
(More? Wnt | Molecular Development | PMID 16019432 | PMID 19736321)


A member of the Wnt signaling family. Two separate signaling pathways have been described for the Wnt5a signaling cascade. The first involves the Frizzled2 transmembrane receptor activating intracellular calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase and protein kinase C leading to Ca2+ ion fluxes. The second involves the receptor tyrosine kinase-like orphan receptor (Ror2) with multiple downstream intracellular mediators.
(More? Wnt | OMIM 164975)

Wolcott-Rallison syndrome

(WRS) Genetic disorder, a rare autosomal recessive disease, characterized by neonatal/early-onset non-autoimmune insulin-requiring diabetes associated with skeletal dysplasia and growth retardation.

Wolffian body

(mesonephros) Historic name for the developing renal (mesonephros) and genital (paramesonephrotic blastema) structures. This term is no longer used in describing development. Named after Caspar Friedrich Wolff (1733-1794), a German scientist and early embryology researcher and is said to have established the doctrine of germ layers.
(More? Renal System Development | Genital System Development | Caspar Friedrich Wolff)

Wolffian duct

(mesonephric duct, preferred terminology), A developmental duct that runs from the mesonephros to cloaca. The duct in male differentiates to form the ductus deferens and in female the same structure regresses. Historically named after Caspar Friedrich Wolff (1733-1794), a German scientist and early embryology researcher and is said to have established the doctrine of germ layers.
(More? Genital - Male Development | Genital System Development | Lecture - Genital Development | Caspar Friedrich Wolff)

Wolfram syndrome

Wolfram syndrome is a rare genetic disease characterized by insulin-dependent diabetes, optic nerve atrophy, sensorineural hearing loss and neurodegeneration.
(More? smell | hearing | diabetes | neural abnormalities | PMID 32087739

woven bone

The first deposited bone matrix with many osteocytes and a disorganized matrix structure. This initial matrix is much weaker than lamellar bone which replaces it in compact bone. This type of bone matrix is seen in developing and healing bone as well as in some bone diseases.
(More? Lecture - Musculoskeletal | Medicine Practical - Bone Development)

Glossary Comments

Use this page to access brief definitions of specific embryology terms. Additional information can be accessed from links listed at the end of each definition. Glossary from the UNSW Embryology program compiled and written by Dr Mark Hill. Reference material used in preparing this glossary list includes: texts listed on page 1 "Reading" of each notes section, Department of Anatomy Publications, WWW resources from NCBI, NIH, OMIM, NHMRC (Australia), AMA (USA), Office of Rare Diseases (USA), PubMed Medline Dictionaries, MSDS, Merck Manual home edn. and WHO ART terminology (2009).

These notes are for Educational Purposes Only Please email Dr Mark Hill if you wish to make a comment about this current project.

Glossary Links

Glossary: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | Numbers | Symbols | Term Link

Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2024, June 13) Embryology W. Retrieved from https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/W

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© Dr Mark Hill 2024, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G