The Fallopian tubes, also known as uterine tubes or salpinges
(singular salpinx), are two very fine tubes lined with ciliated
epithelia, leading from the ovaries of female mammals into the uterus,
via the uterotubal junction. They enable the passage of egg cells from
the ovaries to the uterus. In non-mammalian vertebrates, the
equivalent structures are called oviducts.
3 Clinical significance
3.1 Patency testing
5 See also
7 External links
Its different segments are (lateral near the ovaries to medial near
the uterus): the infundibulum with its associated fimbriae near the
ovary, the ampullary region that represents the major portion of the
lateral tube, the isthmus which is the narrower part of the tube that
links to the uterus, and the interstitial (also known as intramural)
part that transverses the uterine musculature. The ostium is the point
where the tubal canal meets the peritoneal cavity, while the uterine
opening of the
Fallopian tube is the entrance into the uterine cavity,
the uterotubal junction.
A cross section of
Fallopian tube shows four distinct layers, from
outer to inner: serosa, subserosa, lamina propria and innermost
mucosal. The serosa is derived from visceral peritoneum.
composed of loose adventitious tissue, blood vessels, lymphatics, an
outer longitudinal and inner circular smooth muscle coats. This layer
is responsible for the peristaltic action of the Fallopian tubes.
Lamina propria is a vascular connective tissue.
The inner layer is a single layer of column-shaped cells. Cells with
microscopic hair-like filaments (cilia) predominate throughout the
tube, but are most numerous in the infundibulum and ampulla. Estrogen
increases the production of cilia on these cells. Between the ciliated
cells are peg cells, which contain apical granules and produce the
tubular fluid. This fluid contains nutrients for spermatozoa, oocytes,
and zygotes. The secretions also promote capacitation of the sperm by
removing glycoproteins and other molecules from the plasma membrane of
Progesterone increases the number of peg cells, while
estrogen increases their height and secretory activity. Tubal fluid
flows against the action of the ciliae, that is toward the fimbrial
In view of longitudinal variation in histological features of tube,
the isthmus has thick muscular coat and simple mucosal folds; whereas
ampulla has complex mucosal folds.[clarification needed]
Embryos have two pairs of ducts to let gametes out of the body; one
pair (the Müllerian ducts) develops in females into the Fallopian
tubes, uterus and vagina, while the other pair (the Wolffian ducts)
develops in males into the epididymis and vas deferens.
Normally, only one of the pairs of tubes will develop while the other
regresses and disappears in utero.
The homologous organ in the male is the rudimentary appendix
The tube allows passage of the egg from the ovary to the uterus. When
an oocyte is developing in an ovary, it is encapsulated in a spherical
collection of cells known as an ovarian follicle. Just prior to
ovulation the primary oocyte completes meiosis I to form the first
polar body and a secondary oocyte which is arrested in metaphase of
meiosis II. This secondary oocyte is then ovulated. The follicle and
the ovary's wall rupture, allowing the secondary oocyte to escape. The
secondary oocyte is caught by the fimbriated end and travels to the
ampulla of the uterine tube where typically the sperm are met and
fertilization occurs; meiosis II is promptly completed. The fertilized
ovum, now a zygote, travels towards the uterus aided by activity of
tubal cilia and activity of the tubal muscle. The early embryo
requires critical development in the Fallopian tube. After about
five days the new embryo enters the uterine cavity and on about the
sixth day implants on the wall of the uterus.
The release of an oocyte does not alternate between the two ovaries
and seems to be random. After removal of an ovary, the remaining one
produces an egg every month.
Occasionally the embryo implants into the
Fallopian tube instead of
the uterus, creating an ectopic pregnancy, commonly known as a "tubal
While a full testing of tubal functions in patients with infertility
is not possible, testing of tubal patency is important as tubal
obstruction is a major cause of infertility. A hysterosalpingogram,
laparoscopy and dye, or
HyCoSy will demonstrate that tubes are open.
Tubal insufflation is a standard procedure for testing patency. During
surgery the condition of the tubes may be inspected and a dye such as
methylene blue can be injected into the uterus and shown to pass
through the tubes when the cervix is occluded. As tubal disease is
often related to Chlamydia infection, testing for Chlamydia antibodies
has become a cost-effective screening device for tubal pathology.
Main article: Salpingitis
Salpingitis is inflammation of the Fallopian tubes and may be found
alone, or be a component of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). A
thickening of the
Fallopian tube at its narrow portion, due to
inflammation, is known as salpingitis isthmica nodosa. Like PID and
endometriosis, it may lead to
Fallopian tube obstruction. Fallopian
tube obstruction is associated with infertility and ectopic pregnancy.
Fallopian tube cancer
Fallopian tube cancer, which typically arises from the epithelial
lining of the Fallopian tube, has historically been considered to be a
very rare malignancy. Recent evidence suggests it probably represents
a significant portion of what has been classified as ovarian cancer in
the past. While tubal cancers may be misdiagnosed as ovarian
cancer, it is of little consequence as the treatment of both ovarian
Fallopian tube cancer is similar.
The surgical removal of a
Fallopian tube is called a salpingectomy. To
remove both tubes is a bilateral salpingectomy. An operation that
combines the removal of a
Fallopian tube with removal of at least one
ovary is a salpingo-oophorectomy. An operation to remove a Fallopian
tube obstruction is called a tuboplasty.
The fallopian tube can prolapse into the vagina and can be mistaken
for a neoplastic tissue mass. This usually happens after a
They are named after their discoverer, the 16th century Italian
anatomist Gabriele Falloppio, who thought they resembled tubas, the
plural of tuba in Italian being tube.
Though the name
Fallopian tube is eponymous, some texts spell it with
a lower case f from the assumption that the adjective fallopian has
been absorbed into modern English as the de facto name for the
This article uses anatomical terminology; for an overview, see
^ a b Daftary, Shirish; Chakravarti, Sudip (2011). Manual of
Obstetrics, 3rd Edition. Elsevier. pp. 1-16. ISBN 9788131225561.
^ Li, S; Winuthayanon, W (January 2017). "Oviduct: roles in
fertilization and early embryo development". The Journal of
endocrinology. 232 (1): R1–R26. doi:10.1530/JOE-16-0302.
^ "Menstrual Cycle: Biology of the Female Reproductive System: Merck
Manual Home Health Handbook". Merck.com. Retrieved 2011-03-06.
^ Kodaman PH, Arici A, Seli E (June 2004). "Evidence-based diagnosis
and management of tubal factor infertility". Current Opinion in
Obstetrics and Gynecology. 16 (3): 221–9.
doi:10.1097/00001703-200406000-00004. PMID 15129051.
^ Hirst, JE.; Gard, GB.; McIllroy, K.; Nevell, D.; Field, M. (Jul
2009). "High rates of occult fallopian tube cancer diagnosed at
prophylactic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy". Int J Gynecol Cancer.
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^ "Benign Neoplasms of the
Vagina GLOWM". www.glowm.com. Retrieved
^ "A Medley of Maladies". QI. Series M. Episode 1. Transcript from
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July 2017. He thought they reminded him of what were in those days
rather long musical instruments with an end like a trumpet's bell,
these were tubas. And so he called them tubas. And if you have a tuba,
if you have a word ending in A in Italian, how do you pluralise it?
What is two tuba? ... Tube. With an E on the end, spelled T-U-B-E. So,
when it went around the world as his tube, his tubas, people saw the
word tube. But, in fact, he had called them tubas.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fallopian tube.
Histology image: 18501loa –
Histology Learning System at Boston
Menstrual Cycle - Merck
Female reproductive system
Theca of follicle
Vesicular appendages of epoophoron
Fossa of vestibule of vagina
Frenulum of labia minora
Frenulum of clitoris
Bulb of vestibule
Bartholin's glands/Bartholin's ducts
Skene's glands/Skene's ducts
Crus of clitoris