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Histol Histopathol. 2006 Mar;21(3):219-26.

Microplicae-like structures of the fallopian tube in postmenopausal women as shown by electron microscopy.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, University of Rome La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.


Female reproductive aging is associated with several morphological changes of the genital tract with a subsequent decline in fertility; however, ultrastructural changes occurring after menopause have still not been well illustrated. Our aim was to characterize the three-dimensional microanatomy of the luminal surface of the human fallopian tube in perimenopause and postmenopause. Twenty bioptic samples of fallopian tubes were obtained after surgery under the informed consent of the patients. Samples were processed for transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and field-emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM). As age increases the surface epithelium of the fallopian tube appeared somewhat flattened. Correlated TEM/FE-SEM observations showed gradual shortening of microvilli and deciliation. The most interesting finding was the gradual formation of microplicae-like structures on the surface epithelium, particularly from late perimenopause to postmenopause. Microplicae-like structures, associated with other regressive changes, represent an important adaptation of the epithelium of the fallopian tube; these are likely induced by the physiological process of aging, thus better withstanding hormonal changes associated with the advent of the menopause.

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