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Hum Reprod. 1998 May;13(5):1163-8.

Endocytosis and MHC class II expression by human oviductal epithelium according to stage of the menstrual cycle.

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Laboratorio de Immunología de la Reproducción, Facultad de Química y Biología, Universidad de Santiago de Chile.


The epithelium is the first barrier against pathogens invading the lumen of the human oviduct. Its expression of class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC class II) proteins suggests that it might play a role in antigen presentation during the local immune response. To study the role of the oviductal epithelium in antigen processing, its endocytic properties and MHC class II expression were examined. For assay of endocytosis, fluorescein isothiocyanate-labelled bovine serum albumin (BSA-FITC) or Escherichia coli (E. coli-FITC) was infused into the lumen. One-centimetre pieces of oviduct were incubated for 2 h and processed for fluorescence and confocal microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. Incorporation into secretory and ciliated epithelial cells was observed, which was unrelated to the phase of the menstrual cycle. Small pieces of the organs were frozen and processed for immunohistochemistry. Most oviducts expressed MHC class II (HLA.DR) in the epithelium and in some cases this was coincident with endocytosis, but there was no statistically significant association between this expression and either endocytotic activity or the phase of the menstrual cycle. Results demonstrate that the epithelium of the human oviduct exhibits endocytic properties towards luminal soluble and particle antigens, which is not related either to MHC class II expression or to the phase of the menstrual cycle.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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