Contractility of the Human Fallopian Tube
Contractions of the Fallopian tube play a key role in transport of the ovum from the ovary to the uterus. Because longitudinal muscle fibers, which cause shortening, and circular muscle fibers, which cause annular constrictions, are constantly being activated, the contractility pattern of the Fallopian tube is very complex. An additional cause of this complexity is the contractile activity of associated structures such as the mesosalpinx and the uterus itself. Changes in intratubal pressure, which should reflect the action of the various muscular structures on the tube, have been recorded in vivo in the rabbit (Greenwald, 1963; Mattos and Coutinho, 1971), the monkey (Neri et al., 1972), and the human (Maia and Coutinho, 1968). These studies show a great similarity between the contractility patterns of human and monkey Fallopian tubes. The rabbit oviduct, on the other hand, has a much greater contraction rate and no cyclic changes occur in the contractility pattern (Coutinho, 1973a; Mattos and Coutinho, 1971). Although the rabbit oviduct seems to respond to the action of the ovarian steroid hormones in the same fashion as the primate oviduct, it does not respond, as does the human Fallopian tube, to several other hormones and smooth muscle stimulants such as oxytocin, vasopressin, and ergot derivatives. Because of these differences, the findings with the rabbit oviduct cannot be readily extrapolated to the human; only studies in primates, preferably in women, provide an adequate model for human tubal pharmacology.
KeywordsMenstrual Cycle Natural Rubber Luteal Phase Fallopian Tube Tonic Contraction
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