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Hum Reprod. 2002 Mar;17(3):584-8.

Fallopian tube ciliary beat frequency in relation to the stage of menstrual cycle and anatomical site.

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Academic Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, St Bartholomew's and The Royal London Hospital School of Medicine and Dentistry, Whitechapel, London E1 1BB, UK.



The cyclical changes in ciliary structure and motion within the human Fallopian tube are well documented. Previous investigators have studied ciliary beat frequency (CBF) in relation to menstrual cycle and anatomical site, but with conflicting results.


Using a technique that records variations in light intensity, we have studied the changes in CBF in relation to the menstrual cycle and anatomical site. Fallopian tubes were collected from 26 women who underwent hysterectomy for benign conditions. Menstrual history, hormone profile and endometrial biopsy results were used to determine the stage of the cycle. Fourteen women were in the proliferative phase, and 12 women in the secretory phase.


Mean CBF for all subjects was 5.3 plus minus 0.2 Hz. There was no significant difference in CBF in relation to anatomical site. In the fimbrial region the ciliary beat was faster in the secretory (5.8 plus minus 0.3 Hz) as compared with the proliferative phase (4.9 plus minus 0.2 Hz), P < 0.02.


It is possible that this increase in fimbrial CBF may contribute to ovum retrieval and transport after ovulation. However, the reproductive significance of the changes in CBF in relation to the menstrual cycle needs further investigation.

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