• Fallopian tube;
  • lymphocyte subsets;
  • MALT

PROBLEM: Immunohistochemical investigations for the detection of lymphocyte subsets in the human oviduct have been performed. Knowledge about local immunity especially cell-mediated immunity, in the fallopian tube has been, up to now, limited. As an essential structure for the human reproduction process, the tubal mucous membrane is exposed to a variety of antigens.

METHOD: A total number of 20 tubal biopsies obtained from fertile women during gynecological operations like tubal ligations or hysterectomy were examined by the immunoperoxidase technique. Seven specimens were obtained during the proliferative phase, ten during the secretory phase and three during a caesarean section with tubal ligations.

RESULTS: It could be established that the presence of lymphocytes in the oviductal mucous membrane is physiological. These cells can be identified by their typical immunohistochemical patterns. There were no significant differences of the type and number of lymphocytes in the mucosa within the phases of menstrual cycle. The dominant cell types in the tubal mucosa were the CD3 + and CD8 + lymphocytes.

CONCLUSIONS: It can be suggested that the lymphocytes in the tubal mucosa may involved in the process of immune tolerance, which could realize the transport of sperms and blastocyst through the oviduct under normal conditions without activation of local immune mechanisms. The lymphoid tissue of the oviduct is a specialized form of mucosal-associ-ated lymphoid tissue (MALT).