The aim of the present research was to investigate the changes of the sugar residues in the oviduct in the course of ageing in postmenopausal women vs normally menstruating women, by means of lectin histochemistry. Twenty asymptomatic postmenopausal women (48-83 years old) were recruited among patients who underwent a vaginal hysterectomy. Eight normally menstruating women were recruited as controls. Fragments of Fallopian tubes (pars ampullaris) were fixed in 10% formalin and routinely processed. The sections were labelled with HRP-lectins (PNA, SBA, DBA, WGA, Con A, LTA, UEAI). Some sections were pre-treated with neuraminidase prior to staining with HRP-lectins. Among the postmenopausal patients, our histochemical data showed that there was no difference in the localization and distribution of sugar residues of glycoconjugates as detected by various HRP-lectins. Moreover, our results demonstrated that the oviductal epithelium is characterized by apical reactivity in both ciliated and non-ciliated cells. In the course of ageing, the ciliated cells changed their morphology from bathyprismatic to large and rounded shape. ConA lectin reacted intensely with such highly degenerating ciliated cells and could be considered a marker of these cells. The degenerating ciliated cells are also characterized by the absence of sialic acid. In comparison with the sugar residues present in the control group, the oviductal epithelium of postmenopausal women is characterized by the loss of reactivity with DBA, WGA and ConA. Moreover, PNA reactive material was present at the free border of the ciliated and non-ciliated cells. The latter findings were statistically confirmed and could be considered strictly related to the ageing process.
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