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Biol Reprod. 1989 Jun;40(6):1131-6.

Ovum transport in the rat oviductal ampulla in the absence of muscle contractility.

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  • 1Center for Bioengineering, University of Washington, Seattle 98195.


Ovum transport in mammalian oviducts involves two main effectors: ciliary motility and muscle contractility. To study the relative contribution of cilia to ovum transport in the rat, we blocked smooth muscle activity with isoproterenol, a beta-adrenergic agonist, and measured transport rates of surrogate ova in situ. Transport rates before isoproterenol administration were 0.04 mm/s in the cephalic ampulla and 0.03 mm/s in the caudal ampulla; rates were unchanged after administration of isoproterenol. To determine if isoproterenol affected ciliary activity, we measured ciliary beat frequency with laser-scattering spectroscopy over the effective isoproterenol dosage. Isoproterenol did not cause a significant change in ciliary beat frequency. Our results show that in the rat oviductal ampulla, ciliary motion is capable of transporting ova in the absence of muscle contractility.

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