Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Direct observations of ciliary activity on the mucosal surface of mammalian oviducts have rarely been reported. Yet such studies might help to determine the relative value of ciliary action in gamete transport through the ducts. The purpose of this study was to examine the direction and rapidity of ciliary currents in the oviducts of two mammalian species, the rabbit and the pig. Fresh oviducts were slit open longitudinally and submerged in Hanks' balanced salt solution at 37°C. The movements of particulate matter, such as stained lycopodium spores and 15 μ microspherents, placed on the mucosal surface, were observed and recorded on film. In both species ciliary currents in the ampulla swept the particles toward the ampullar-isthmic junction. In the isthmus of the pig oviduct the particulate matter was transported in the reverse direction, toward the ovary. The pro-ovarian current could be demonstrated throughout the isthmus, beginning a few millimeters above the uterotubal junction. In the rabbit a similar current was detected, but it was not as extensive as in the pig. In the upper isthmus of the rabbit oviduct, particulate matter and rabbit eggs in the “mucin coat” merely rotated or “tumbled” on the surface with little movement in either direction. This is the first report of pro-ovarian ciliary currents for any mammal, and we believe these to be important for sperm transport through the isthmus. The action of cilia during egg transport is discussed.
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