Induction of a differentiated ciliated cell phenotype in primary cultures of Fallopian tube epithelium

M. T. Comer, H. J. Leese, J. Southgate*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human Fallopian tubal epithelial cells in culture lose morphological features associated with the epithelium in situ and the extent to which they retain their in-vivo phenotype or function is unknown. In order to address this question, immunocytochemical markers were identified which distinguish secretory (HMFG2+, LhS28-) from ciliated (HMFG2-, LhS28+) epithelial cells in tissue sections of Fallopian tube. These markers were used to analyse the phenotype of tubal cells in vitro. Primary cultures of human tubal epithelial cells were seeded onto glass and grown to confluence before addition of oestradiol-17β. In the absence of hormone, tubal epithelial cells expressed cytokeratins and nuclear receptors for oestrogen and progesterone and adopted a homogeneous (HMFG2+, LhS28-) secretory cell phenotype. Following the addition of oestradiol-17β, a proportion of cells became positive for LhS28. The induction of a ciliated epithelial cell phenotype was confirmed by scanning electron microscopy, where on permeable collagen membranes, approximately one-third of tubal epithelial cells became ciliated in the presence of oestradiol 17β. We suggest that in vitro, tubal epithelial cells adopt an immature secretory-like phenotype and that oestrogen can induce differentiation to a ciliated epithelial cell phenotype.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3114-3120
Number of pages7
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 1998


  • Cell culture
  • Differentiation
  • Epithelium
  • Fallopian tube
  • Phenotype

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