There are two uterine tubes, also known as oviducts and salpinges (singular salpinx). Each uterine tube is associated with an ovary and extends to the uterus along the superior margin of the broad ligament.
The fallopian tube allows passage of the ovary to the uterus. The infundibulum is the funnel-shaped end of the uterine tube. The opening of the infundibulum is surrounded by long, thin processes called fimbriae. The inner surface of the fimbriae consists of a ciliated mucous membrane. The part of the uterine tube that is nearest to the infundibulum is called the ampulla. It is the widest and longest part of the tube and accounts for about 7.5-8 cm of the total 10 cm length of the tube. The narrower part of the tube that links to the uterus is called isthmus. It is the part being cut during tubal ligation.
The wall of the uterine tube consists of three layers. The outer serosa is formed by the visceral peritoneum, the middle muscular layer consists of longitudinal and circular smooth muscle cells, and the inner mucosa is a mucous membrane of simple ciliated columnar epithelium. Ciliated cells predominate throughout the tube. Interspersed between the ciliated cells are peg cells, which contain apical granules and produce tubular fluid. Muscular contractions and movement of the cilia move the oocyte, or the developing embryo, through the uterine tubes toward the uterus.
Functions in Fertilization
When an ovum is developing in an ovary, it is encapsulated in a sac known as an ovarian follicle. On maturity of the ovum, the follicle and the ovary’s wall rupture, allowing the ovum to escape. The egg is caught by the fimbriated end and travels to the ampulla where typically the sperm is met and fertilization occurs. The fertilized ovum, now a zygote, travels towards the uterus aided by the activity of the tubal cilia and activity of the tubal muscle. After about five days the embryo enters the uterine cavity...