Research Article| Volume 58, ISSUE 3, P269-284, November 20, 2007

The sialoglycoconjugates in the oviducts of fertile and postmenopausal women

Published:September 24, 2007DOI:



      The aim of the study was to investigate the distribution of the sialoderivatives of the glycoconjugates in the oviduct of normally menstruating and postmenopausal women.


      Biopsies of ampullary and isthmic portions of the oviduct were obtained from fertile women, in proliferative and secretive phases, and from postmenopausal subjects. The study was carried out using digoxigenin-labelled lectins (MAA, SNA and PNA) in addition to the use of enzymatic and chemical treatments to characterize the different glycosidic linkages of the sialoderivatives and to obtain information on their structure.


      No appreciable difference in sialoderivatives distribution was observed among the oviducts, particularly at the epithelium luminal surface, of the fertile women in the two menstrual cycle phases or among those of the fertile and some postmenopausal women, independently from age. Moreover, no appreciable difference of distribution was observed between the ampullary and the isthmic portions in both the study groups.


      In the fertile women sialoderivatives present at the luminal surface of the epithelial cells could play a role in sperm capacitation and mobility, and facilitate the transit of the egg and of the early embryo along the oviducts. The similar distribution of sialoderivatives in the oviduct epithelium of some postmenopausal women of different age, compared to the fertile ones, suggests a maintaining of some functions of the organ, independently from the age of the woman. This could be due, in some cases, to the influence of remaining still sufficient sex hormonal levels.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Maturitas
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Schulte B.A.
        • Rao K.P.
        • Kreutner A.
        • Thomopoulos G.N.
        • Spicer S.S.
        Histochemical examination of glycoconjugates of epithelial cells in the human Fallopian tube.
        Lab Invest. 1985; 52: 207-219
        • Wu T.J.
        • Lee S.
        • Jih M.H.
        • Liu J.T.
        • Wan Y.Y.
        Differential distribution of glycoconjugates in human reproductive tract.
        Fertil Steril. 1993; 59: 60-64
        • Kiss H.
        • Walter I.
        • Lehner R.
        • Egarter C.
        • Breitenecker G.
        • Bock P.
        Lectin histochemistry of fallopian tube epithelial cells.
        J Reprod Med. 1998; 43: 535-540
        • Gheri G.
        • Noci I.
        • Sgambati E.
        • Borri P.
        • Taddei G.
        • Gheri Bryk S.
        Ageing of the human oviduct: lectin histochemistry.
        Histol Histopathol. 2001; 16: 21-28
        • Gabrielli M.G.
        • Bondi A.M.
        • Materazzi G.
        • Menghi G.
        Differential location and structural specificities of sialic acid-β-D-Gal sequences belonging to sialoderivatives of rabbit oviduct under hormonal treatment.
        Histol Histopathol. 2004; 19: 1175-1186
        • Demott R.P.
        • Lefebvre R.
        • Suarez S.S.
        Carbohydrates mediate the adherence of hamster sperm to oviductal epithelium.
        Biol Reprod. 1995; 52: 1395-1403
        • Cortés P.P.
        • Orihuela P.A.
        • Zùniga L.M.
        • Velàsquez L.A.
        • Croxatto H.B.
        Sperm binding to oviductal epithelial cells in the rat: role of sialic acid residues on the epithelial surface and sialic acid-binding sites on the sperm surface.
        Biol Reprod. 2004; 71: 1262-1269
        • Schulte B.A.
        • Spicer S.S.
        Histochemical methods for characterizing secretory and cell surface sialoglycoconjugates.
        J Histochem Cytochem. 1985; 33: 427-438
        • Varki A.
        Sialic acids as ligands in recognition phenomena.
        FASEB J. 1997; 11: 248-255
        • Shibuya N.
        • Goldstein I.J.
        • Broekaert W.-F.
        • Nsimba-Lubaki M.
        • Peeters B.
        • Peumans W.J.
        The ederberry (Sambucus nigra L.) bark lectin recognizes the Neu5Ac(α2,6)Gal/GalNAc sequence.
        J Biol Chem. 1987; 262: 1596-1601
        • Wang W.C.
        • Cummings R.D.
        The immobilized leukoagglutinin from the seeds of Maackia amurensis binds with high affinity to complex-type asn-linked oligosaccharides containing terminal sialic acid linked α2,3 to penultimate galactose residues.
        J Biol Chem. 1988; 263: 4576-4585
        • Schultka R.
        • Cech S.
        Application of “mild” periodic oxidation to the ultrahistochemical detection of sialic acid-compounds in human Fallopian tube epithelium.
        Acta Histochem. 1990; 88: 65-69
        • Madrid J.F.
        • Aparicio R.
        • Sàez F.J.
        • Hernàndez F.
        Lectin cytochemical characterization of the N- and O-linked oligosaccharides in the human rectum.
        Histochem J. 2000; 32: 281-289
        • Moschera J.
        • Pigman W.
        The isolation and characterization of rat sublingual mucus-glycoprotein.
        Carbohydr Res. 1975; 40: 53-67
        • Roberts J.P.
        Histochemical detection of sialic acid residues using periodate oxidations.
        Histochem J. 1977; 9: 97-102
        • Plendl J.
        • Schonleber B.
        • Schmahl W.
        • Schumacher V.
        Comparison of the unmasking of lectin receptors by neuraminidase and by enzime-free buffer alone.
        J Histochem Cytochem. 1989; 37: 1743-1744
        • Martinez-Menarguez J.A.
        • Ballesta J.
        • Aviles M.
        • Madrid J.F.
        • Castellas M.T.
        Influence of sulphate groups in the binding of peanut agglutinin. Histochemical demonstration with light- and electron-microscopy.
        Histochem J. 1992; 24: 207-216
        • Hafez E.S.E.
        Scanning electron microscopy of female reproductive organs during menopause and related pathologies.
        in: Fioretti P. Martini L. Melis G.B. Yen S.S.C. The menopause: clinical, endocrinological and pathophysiological aspects, serono symposium. Academic Press, London and New York1982: 201-217
        • Ito T.
        • Newkirk C.
        • Strum J.M.
        • McDowell E.M.
        Changes in glycoconjugates revealed by lectin staining in the developing airways of syrian golden hamster.
        Anat Rec. 1990; 228: 151-162
        • Desantis S.
        • Acone F.
        • Corriero A.
        • et al.
        Distribution of sialoglycoconjugates in the oviductal isthmus of the horse during anoestrus, oestrus and pregnancy: a lectin histochemistry study.
        Eur J Histochem. 2004; 48: 403-412
        • Way A.L.
        • Schuler A.M.
        • Killian G.J.
        Influence of bovine ampullary and isthmic oviductal fluid on sperm-egg binding and fertilization in vitro.
        J Reprod Fertil. 1997; 109: 95-101
        • Rodriguez C.
        • Killian G.
        Identification of ampullary and isthmic oviductal fluid proteins that associate with the bovine sperm membrane.
        Anim Reprod Sci. 1998; 54: 1-12
        • Leese H.J.
        • Tay J.I.
        • Reischl J.
        • Downing S.J.
        Formation of Fallopian tubal fluid: role of a neglected epithelium.
        Reproduction. 2001; 121: 339-346
        • Killian G.J.
        Evidence for the role of oviduct secretions in sperm function, fertilization and embryo development.
        Anim Reprod Sci. 2004; 82: 141-153
        • Suarez S.S.
        The oviductal sperm reservoir in mammals: mechanism of formation.
        Biol Reprod. 1998; 58: 1105-1107
        • Suarez S.S.
        • Ignotz G.
        Fucosylated glycoproteins from oviductal epithelium bind PDC-109 and maybe involved in creating the reservoir of sperm in the bovine oviduct.
        in: 34th Annual Meeting Society for the Study of Reproduction, University Ottawa2001
        • Ho H.C.
        • Suarez S.S.
        Hyperactivation of mammalian spermatozoa: function and regulation.
        Reproduction. 2001; 122: 519-526
        • Suarez S.S.
        Formation of a reservoir of sperm in the oviduct.
        Reprod Dom Anim. 2002; 37: 140-143
        • Suarez S.S.
        • Pacey A.A.
        Sperm transport in the female reproductive tract.
        Hum Reprod Update. 2006; 12: 23-37
        • Orhiuela P.A.
        • Ortiz M.E.
        • Croxatto H.B.
        Sperm migration into and trough the oviduct following artificial insemination at different stages of estrous cycle in the rat.
        Biol Reprod. 1999; 60: 908-913
        • Kervancioglu M.E.
        • Djahanbakhch O.
        • Aitken R.J.
        Epithelial cell cocolture and the induction of sperm capacitation.
        Fertil Steril. 1994; 61: 1103-1108
        • Pacey A.A.
        • Davies N.
        • Warren M.A.
        • Barrat C.L.
        • Cooke I.D.
        Hyperactivation may assist human spermatozoa to detach from intimate association with the endosalpinx.
        Hum Reprod. 1995; 10: 2603-2609
        • Murray S.C.
        • Smith T.T.
        Sperm interaction with Fallopian tube apical membrane enhances sperm motility and delays capacitation.
        Fertil Steril. 1997; 68: 351-357
        • Kervancioglu M.E.
        • Saridogan E.
        • Aitken R.J.
        • Djahanbakhch O.
        Importance of sperm-to-epithelial cell contact for the capacitation of human spermatozoa in fallopian tube epithelial cell cocultures.
        Fertil Steril. 2000; 74: 780-784