Human Fallopian tube epithelium constitutively expresses integrin endometrial receptivity markers: no evidence for a tubal implantation window
Understanding of ectopic implantation within Fallopian tube (FT) is limited. In the human uterus, the putative ‘window of implantation’ in the mid-luteal phase of the menstrual cycle is accompanied by increased endometrial epithelial expression of the integrins α1β1, α4β1, and αvβ3 and its ligand osteopontin. Similar cyclical changes in FT integrin expression have been proposed to contribute to ectopic implantation, but supporting data are limited. In the current study, we present quantitative data on human Fallopian tube transcription and translation of the integrin subunits α1, α4, αV, β1 and β3 during the follicular and mid-luteal phases of the menstrual cycle, together with a supporting immuocytochemical analysis of their spatial distribution within the Fallopian tube, and that of osteopontin. In contrast to previous studies, our data indicate that all five integrin receptivity markers are constitutively transcribed and translated in the Fallopian tube, with no evidence for changes in their expression or distribution during the window of implantation in the mid-luteal phase of the cycle. Furthermore, we could find no evidence for cyclic redistribution of the integrin αvβ3 ligand osteopontin within the Fallopian tube. Although we do not rule out the involvement of integrin endometrial receptivity markers in the establishment of ectopic pregnancy, our findings do not support their differential expression during a tubal implantation window.