Development of the Fallopian Tubes and Their Functional Anatomy



In many mammalian species, the regions of the Fallopian tube designated fimbriated infundibulum, ampulla and isthmus (Fig. II.1) present characteristic histological features that underlie differing physiological functions, but in the transitional regions of the ampullary-isthmic and utero-tubal junctions, the situation may be more complex. For example, in species such as pigs and rabbits, the ampullary-isthmic junction is easily recognized, but a specific junctional region is seldom seen clearly in primates (Fig. II.2), although in women it may be distinguished by palpation (Pauerstein and Eddy 1979). A further example is that the caudal extremity of the tube in primates is represented by a substantial intramural portion, whereas in a number of laboratory species, the tube enters the uterus through its mesenteric wall (Fig. II.2), and its opening is protected by a sphincter, villi or mucosal folds. Variation in the anatomy and physiology of the utero-tubal junction has been reviewed by Hafez (1973a) and Nilsson and Reinius (1969), and treated more extensively in a number of classical papers (Kelly 1927; Andersen 1928; Lee 1928). Another morphological distinction is the presence of an ovarian bursa in species such as rats and mice, in which the infundibulum is developed as a sac that more or less completely encloses the gonad (Alden 1942; Wimsatt and Waldo 1945). In other species such as cows, sheep, pigs and rabbits, the proximal end of the tube opens to the peritoneal cavity. Detailed reviews of the morphology of the Fallopian tube are available (see Hafez and Blandau 1969; Hafez 1973b).


Fallopian Tube Uterine Artery Wolffian Duct Ovarian Artery Mullerian Duct 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of ScienceUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghScotland, Great Britain

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