2023-2024 / SEXL0120-1

Multidisciplinary approach to the genital system


34h Th

Number of credits

 Bachelor in medicine4 crédits 


Pierre Bonnet, Philippe Kolh, Bernard Lambermont, Michelle Nisolle, Pascale Quatresooz, Marc Radermecker


Michelle Nisolle

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the second semester


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

This module addresses the different anatomical, histological, biochemical, physiological, pathophysiological, and embryological aspects of the genital system.
At the anatomical level, knowledge of the different elements, as well as their interrelationship, is of considerable importance in medical practice. Knowing how to locate the elements, palpate them, recognize them on x-ray images, ... is common practice.
  At the histological level, the student will learn to know the microscopic aspect of all the organs and the relation between this aspect and the functions of these. He will learn in practical work the criteria allowing him to establish a differential diagnosis and to interpret the aspects of these organs on microscopic sections.  
With regard to biochemistry and physiology, the notion of endocrine network will be defined and the relationship between the genital system and the functioning of the main endocrine glands will be examined. The different mechanisms of hormone release and their modes of action will be explained, as well as the elements necessary to understand the basic explorations of the different endocrine functions. Some physiopathological aspects will be presented as benchmarks. The examination of the synergistic, antagonistic and permissive effects of sex hormones and their regulation will be reviewed. Notions of reproductive biology will also be discussed. Fertilization and the physiology of pregnant women will also be discussed. Normal obstetric mechanics as well as breastfeeding are also part of this module.

The course of biochemistry and physiology of the male genital system has the following sections:

  • sexual differentiation
  • secretion of sex hormones
  • puberty and growth
  • associated pathologies
At the embryological level, from the moment of fertilization, the genetic material coding for the future human being is definitively constituted. The student will have to understand the different stages of the organization and the differentiation of the tissues of the embryo then of the fetus. Knowledge of these mechanisms, succeeding each other harmoniously, will allow us to understand how the malformations are formed that will be detected later in pregnancy or at birth.
Physiology in reproductive medicine

  • Hypothalamo-pituitary axis function
  • Ovarian cycle
  • Menstrual cycle
  • Fecondation and embryonic implantation
  • Adapatations and physiological modifications associated to pregnancy
  • Normal delivery: foetus and placenta
  • The placenta, the cord and the membrans
  • Maternal breast feeding

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

  • Describe the role of hypothalamus in ovulation induction
  • Describe the hypothalamic neuro-endocrine system
  • Describe the relations between the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland
  • Understand the importance of the pulsatility of GnRH secretion
  • Describe the pulsatility of the GnRH during the cycle
  • Describe the clinical consequences of continuous administration of GnRH
  • Schematize the hypothalamo-pituitary secretions in relation with the ovarian and menstrual cycles
  • Knowledge of the external and internal regulation of the hypothalomo-pituitary axis
  • Describe the steroidal feedback on the hypothalamo-pituitary axis
  • Describe the role of the pituitary hormones on the ovulation induction
  • Describe the follicular growth until the ovulation
  • Describe the different phases of the ovarian cycle and variations
  • Describe endocrine and exocrine functions of the ovary
  • Knowledge of the inhibines role on the ovarian cycle
  • Knowledge the follicular atresia and the importance
  • Describe the bi-cellular theoric of the steroidal ovarian secretion
  • Describe the different steps of the steroidal hormones synthesis
  • Describe how to determine the ovarian reserve
  • Describe the mecanisms responsible of the ovulation
  • Precise the role of the corpus luteum
  • Compare the peripheric effects of the progesterone and oestrogens
  • Explain the consequences of oestrogens exces
  • Describe and compare the different phases of the menstrual cycle
  • Explain the initiation of the menstruations
  • Describe the embryo implantation and trophoblastic invasion
  • Describe the relation between the ovarian cycle and the menstrual cycle
  • Describe the implantation window and its importance
  • Describe the different possibilities to evaluate the clinical impregnation on oestrogens and progesterone
  • Explain the importance of the LH-RH test in amenorrhea
  • Explain the different possibilities to explore the ovarian function
  • Explain the irregular cycles at the puberty and peri-menopausis
  • What are the hormonal analysis needed to diagnose the menopausis
  • Explain the role of the progesterone test
  • Explain the mecanism of the hormonal contraception
  • Describe the role of the foeto placental unit in the steroids production
  • Explain the hormones producted by the placenta and the role of the human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG)
  • Describe the mecanisms of the delivery
  • Describe the lactation mecanism
  • Knowledge of the anatomy and histology of the placenta
  • Knowledge of the uterine contraction, consequences on the cervix and the dilatation
  • Knowledge of the different physiological maternal modifications in relation with the pregnancy
  • Knowledge of the steps of the pulmonary maturation and its clinical implication
  • Knowledge of the myometrial histology, main receptors on muscular fibers and the physiology of the contraction
  • Knowledge of the mammal gland outside and during the pregnancy and the lactation
  • Knowledge of the formation of amniotic liquid and its role
  • Knowledge of the insuline resistance during pregnancy
  • How to detect the gestational diabetis
  • Knowledge of the foetal consequences of the hyperglycemia
  • Knowledge of the cinetic and the regulations of the prolactin liberation
  • Knowledge of the main signs of aneuploidia
  • Knowledge of the different types of twin pregnancies
  • Knowledge of the mecanism of the placental explusion
  • Knowledge of the modifications of the uterus during pregnancy
  • Knowledge of the cervical modification during labor
  • Pelvic anatomy during pregnancy and delivery

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

  • Anatomy of the hypothalamo-pituitary system and of the female genital tract
  • Histology of the female genital tract
  • Embryology of the female genital tract
  • Co-requisite: biochemistry and physiology of the endocrine system

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

This Module is multidisciplinar (based on different theoretical courses in different disciplines).
Practical works (MEDE0124 and MEDE0125) and Problem-based seminars (APPR0141) complete the practical and clinical aspects.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face course

Additional information:

Hybrid course (theoretical aspects in classical classrooms ; some practical aspects are developped within e-learning and small groups sessions).

Ex-Cathedra courses: 6x2 hours

  • Hypothalamo-pituitary axis function
  • Ovarian cycle
  • Menstrual cycle
  • Fecondation and embryonic implantation
  • Adapatations and physiological modifications associated to pregnancy
  • Normal delivery: foetus and placenta
  • The placenta, the cord and the membrans
  • Maternal breast feeding

Recommended or required readings

Slides and comments are available on e-campus on line course ; books can be obtained at the Ulg Press Shop  (complementary, not compulsory).

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

written exam ( multiple-choice questionnaire, open-ended questions )

Out-of-session test(s)

Additional information:

Written exam :QROC and QCM in june and september

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course


Professor Michelle NISOLLE michelle.nisolle@ulg.ac.be
Secretary: Christelle Leclercq christelle.leclercq@chrcitadelle.be

Pr Philippe KOLH
Human biochemistry and physiology
04/3668445 (secrétariat)
Professor P.BONNET - Anatomie humaine, Tour de Pathologie 3, niveau -1, CHU Sart Tilman, Bât. B23 (Tél.: 04/366.51.57 ; e-mail: P.Bonnet@ulg.ac.be (pour problèmes non relatifs au cours; sinon utiliser le forum "on-line")
Chef de Travaux
Dr Valérie Defaweux Anatomie humaine, Tour de Pathologie 3, niveau -1, CHU Sart Tilman, Bât. B23
Tél.: +32 4 3665174 +32 4 3662858
e-mail: Valerie.Defaweux@ulg.ac.be
Secretary :
Jessica Thys
Tour de Pathologie 2 - Bât. B36 +1
4000 LIEGE
Tél: 04/366.51.91
Fax: 04/366.59.53
Anatomie Prosecteurs: Madame M. Wouters, Messieurs G.Dessers, A. Botte
Tour de Pathologie 3, niveau -1, CHU Sart Tilman, Bât. B23 (Tél.: 04/366.51.52-3

Association of one or more MOOCs

Items online

Maternal breastfeeding

Hypothalamo-Hypophyso-ovarian axis
Description of mode of H-H-O axis fonctionnement

Hypothalamo-Hypophyso-ovarian axis text
Explanation of H-H-O axis

Fecondation- Implantation and Placentation
Differents steps of fecondation, implantation and placentation

Mecanisms of delivery
Description of labor and delivery

Physiology of pregnant women
Physiologic modifictions and adaptations of women to pregnancy

Text of 3 podcasts
HHO axis