Characterization of the immune cell repertoire in the normal fallopian tube

Int J Gynecol Pathol. 2014 Nov;33(6):581-91. doi: 10.1097/PGP.0000000000000095.


Recent studies implicating the fallopian tube as the site of putative precursors of ovarian serous carcinoma, and the hypothesis that injury, inflammation, and repair of the ovarian surface epithelium at the time of ovulation, may be contributing factors to ovarian carcinogenesis, prompted us to undertake a comprehensive analysis of the immune cells in the normal fallopian tube. Accordingly, the aim of this study was to provide a baseline for future studies exploring the relationship of inflammation with the early events of ovarian carcinogenesis by characterizing the immune cell repertoire in 13 normal human fallopian tubes, combining digital microscopy of immunostained slides and flow cytometry of fresh single-cell suspensions, with a panel of markers that identify the most important adaptive and innate immune cells. We found that CD45(+) leukocytes are regularly observed in the fallopian tube and are mainly composed of CD163(+) macrophages, CD11c dendritic cells, and CD8(+) T cells. In addition, there are minor populations of CD56(+) NK cells, CD4(+) T cells, CD20(+) B cells, TCRγδ(+) T cells, and, among dendritic cells, CD207(Langerin)(+) Langerhans cells. The cellular mapping that we performed indicates that the local immune system in the human fallopian tube is composed of a mixture of innate and adaptive immune cells, many of which are recognized as playing a role in cancer immune surveillance. This local immune system could provide a first line of defense against early precancerous lesions and could potentially be exploited for immune-based therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Fallopian Tubes / cytology*
  • Fallopian Tubes / immunology*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Middle Aged