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      Ultrastructural changes in the oviduct of the laying hen during the laying cycle.

      Cell and Tissue Research

      Animals, Chickens, anatomy & histology, physiology, Female, Microscopy, Electron, Scanning, Microscopy, Electron, Transmission, Oviducts, ultrastructure, Oviposition

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          The ultrastructural changes occurring in the fully functional oviduct of Isa Brown laying hens were studied during various stages of the laying cycle. Hens were killed at different positions of the egg in the oviduct. The oviduct was lined by ciliated and non-ciliated cells (also referred to as granular cells). The granular cells in the infundibulum contributed to secretion during egg formation, whereas ciliated cells showed little evidence of secretion. Ultrastructural changes were recorded in the granular and glandular cells of the distal infundibulum. In the magnum, the surface ultrastructure revealed glandular openings associated with the ciliated and granular cells. Cyclic changes were recorded in the glandular cells of the magnum. With respect to the three observed types of glands, the structure of gland type A and C cells varied at different egg positions in the oviduct, whereas type B cells represented a different type of gland cell containing amorphous secretory granules. The surface epithelium of the isthmus was also lined by mitochondrial cells. Two types of glandular cell (types 1 and 2) were recorded in the isthmus during the laying cycle. Intracisternal granules were found in type 2 cells of the isthmus. A predominance of glycogen particles occurred in the tubular shell gland. The granular cells in the shell gland contain many vacuoles. During egg formation, these vacuoles regressed following the formation of extensive rough endoplasmic reticulum; the reverse also occurred. The disintegrated material found in the vacuoles may have been derived from the disintegrating granules.

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