The physiological regulation of ciliary beat frequency (CBF) within the fallopian tube is important for controlling the transport of gametes and the fertilized ovum. Progesterone influences gamete transport in the fallopian tube of several mammalian species. In fallopian tubes isolated from cows, treatment with 20 micromolar progesterone caused a rapid reduction of the tubal CBF. The aims of this study were to establish methodology for studying fallopian tube CBF in the mouse, as it is an important model species, and to investigate if progesterone rapidly affects the CBF of mice at nM concentrations.
A method to assess tubal CBF of mice was developed. Fallopian tubes were dissected and the tissue was cut in small pieces. Tissue samples with moving cilia were located under an inverted bright field microscope and held still against the bottom of a petri dish by a motorized needle system. Images were acquired over 90 minutes at 35 degrees C with a high-speed camera and used for assessing changes in the CBF in response to the addition of hormone.
The baseline CBF of the mouse fallopian tube was 23.3 +/- 3.8 Hz. The CBF was stable over at least 90 minutes allowing establishment of a baseline frequency, addition of hormone and subsequent recordings. Progesterone at concentrations of 20 micromolar and 100 nM significantly reduced the CBF by 10% and 15% respectively after 30 minutes compared with controls.
The present study demonstrates that the mouse, despite its small size, is a useful model for studying the fallopian tube CBF ex vivo. The rapid reduction in CBF by 100 nM progesterone suggests that gamete transport in the fallopian tube could be mediated by progesterone via a non-genomic receptor mechanism.