Fallopian tube

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The Fallopian tubes, named after Gabriel Fallopius (Gabriele Falloppio), also known as oviducts, uterine tubes, and salpinges (singular salpinx) are two very fine tubes lined with ciliated epithelia, leading from the ovaries of female mammals into the uterus, via the utero-tubal junction. In non-mammalian vertebrates, the equivalent structures are the oviducts.

Contents

Anatomy and histology

In a woman's body the tube allows passage of the egg from the ovary to the uterus. Its different segments are (lateral to medial): the infundibulum with its associated fimbriae near the ovary, the ampullary region that represents the major portion of the lateral tube, the isthmus which is the narrower part of the tube that links to the uterus, and the interstitial (also intramural) part that transverses the uterine musculature. The tubal ostium is the point where the tubal canal meets the peritoneal cavity, while the uterine opening of the Fallopian tube is the entrance into the uterine cavity, the utero-tubal junction. Ovaries are also connected to the urinary bladder.

There are two types of cells within the simple columnar epithelium of the Fallopian tube. Ciliated cells predominate throughout the tube, but are most numerous in the infundibulum and ampulla. Estrogen increases the production of cilia on these cells. Interspersed between the ciliated cells are peg cells, which contain apical granules and produce the tubular fluid. This fluid contains nutrients for spermatozoa, oocytes, and zygotes. The secretions also promote capacitation of the sperm by removing glycoproteins and other molecules from the plasma membrane of the sperm. Progesterone increases the number of peg cells, while estrogen increases their height and secretory activity. Tubal fluid flows against the action of the ciliae, that is toward the fimbrated end.

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