The Wolffian duct (also known as the mesonephric duct) is one of the paired embryogenic tubules that drain the primitive kidney (mesonephros) to the cloaca. In both the male and the female the Wolffian duct develops in to the trigone of urinary bladder.
When the ducts are exposed to testosterone during embryogenesis, male sexual differentiation occurs: the Wolffian duct develops into the rete testis, the efferent ducts, the epididymis, the vas deferens and the seminal vesicles. The prostate is formed separately from the urogenital sinus.
In the female, in the absence of testosterone, the Wolffian duct regresses. However, inclusions may persist resulting in the epoophoron and Skene's glands. Where a remnant exists lateral to the wall of the vagina a Gartner's duct or cyst may form.
Named after Caspar Friedrich Wolff : described the mesonephros and its ducts in his dissertation in 1759.