Two types of oviductal epithelial cells, secretory and ciliated, play crucial roles in the first days after fertilization in mammals. Secretory cells produce various molecules promoting embryo development, while ciliated cells facilitate transport of oocytes and zygotes by ciliary beating. The proportions of the two cell types change during the estrous cycle. The proportion of ciliated cells on the oviductal luminal surface is abundant at the follicular phase, whereas the proportion of secretory cells gradually increases with the formation of the corpus luteum. In the present study, we hypothesize that the proportions of ciliated and secretory epithelial cells are regulated by mitosis. The proportion of the cells being positive for FOXJ1 (a ciliated cell marker) or Ki67 (a mitosis marker) in epithelial cells during the estrous cycle were immunohistochemically examined. Ki67 and FOXJ1 or PAX8 (a secretory cell marker), were double-stained to clarify which types of epithelial cells undergo mitosis. In the ampulla, the percentage of FOXJ1-positive cells was highest at the day of ovulation (Day 0) and decreased by about 50 % by Days 8–12, while in the isthmus it did not change during the estrous cycle. The proportion of Ki67-positive cells was highest at around the time of ovulation in both the ampulla and isthmus. All the Ki67-positive cells were PAX8-positive and FOXJ1-negative in both the ampulla and isthmus. These findings suggest that epithelial remodeling, which is regulated by differentiation and/or proliferation of secretory cells of the oviduct, provides the optimal environment for gamete transport, fertilization and embryonic development.
- Oviductal epithelium
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Cell Biology