The researcher resolves a long-standing fallopian tube transport debate


Unlike the normal fallopian tube (left), the “cilia-free” fallopian tube does not catch ovulated eggs, which causes female infertility (right). Credit: Tingting Xie

Wei Yan, MD, Ph.D., and his research group have solved a long-standing mystery and scientific debate about the underlying mechanism of gamete and embryo transport within the fallopian tube. Using a mouse model that had no moving cilia in the oviduct, Dr. Yan showed that the moving cilia at the very distal end of the fallopian tube, called the infundibulum, are essential for the uptake of oocytes. Alterations in the ciliary structure and / or beating patterns lead to a failure in oocyte uptake and, consequently, to a loss of female fertility. Interestingly, mobile cilia in other parts of the oviduct may facilitate the transport of sperm and embryos, but they are dispensable for female fertility. This is a fundamental finding, as interrupted transport function is known to lead to female infertility and ectopic pregnancy. The discovery of the research was published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

“It simply came to our notice then “Dr. Yan said,” Now it’s clear that both i they participate in the transport function and mobile cilia are required for egg collection, while smooth muscle contraction is more important for the transport of sperm and embryos. “

He it connects the ovary to the uterus and plays an essential role in female fertility. Functions of the fallopian tube include collecting and transporting ovulated eggs to the site of fertilization inside the fallopian tube, called the ampoule, where the eggs meet with sperm that manage to reach them. Once an egg has been fertilized, the early embryo must be transported from the fallopian tube to the uterine cavity for implantation and subsequent development.

These functions are achieved by the three main cell types of the fallopian tube: multicillial cells, secretory cells, and smooth muscle cells. Since both the beating of mobile cilia and the contraction of smooth muscle can move objects, arguments about the cell type that control transport function have been ongoing for decades. Some scientists believe that it is the beating of the cilia that drives the gametes and the first embryos, but others think that the rhythmic contraction of the smooth muscle drives the movement. Understanding the mechanism underlying the transport of gametes and embryos within the fallopian tube is crucial, as it is known that altered transport function leads to female infertility and .

“The knowledge derived from the present study helps us understand the causes of female infertility and ectopic pregnancy, and the molecules essential for mobile ciliary functions represent a good target for developing non-hormonal female contraceptives,” Yan added.

Dr. Yan’s research focuses on the development of non-hormonal contraceptives, genetic and epigenetic control of fertility, as well as the epigenetic contribution of gametes (sperm and eggs) to fertilization, early embryonic development, and the health of the body. adulthood.

The cilia beat at an unexpected rate in the male reproductive system, according to the study in mice

More information:
Shuiqiao Yuan et al., “Oviductal mobile cilia are essential for egg collection, but dispensable for the transport of sperm and embryos.” PNAS (2021).

Provided by The Lundquist Institute

Citation: Researcher resolves long-standing fallopian tube transport debate (2021, May 24) retrieved May 24, 2021 at -tube-debate.html

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