Characterization of the immune cell repertoire in the normal fallopian tube

Laura Ardighieri, Silvia Lonardi, Daniele Moratto, Fabio Facchetti, Ie Ming Shih, William Vermi, Robert J. Kurman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Recent studies implicating the fallopian tube as the site of putative precursors of ovarian serous carcinoma, and the hypothesis that injury, inflammation, and repair of the ovarian surface epithelium at the time of ovulation, may be contributing factors to ovarian carcinogenesis, prompted us to undertake a comprehensive analysis of the immune cells in the normal fallopian tube. Accordingly, the aim of this study was to provide a baseline for future studies exploring the relationship of inflammation with the early events of ovarian carcinogenesis by characterizing the immune cell repertoire in 13 normal human fallopian tubes, combining digital microscopy of immunostained slides and flow cytometry of fresh single-cell suspensions, with a panel of markers that identify the most important adaptive and innate immune cells. We found that CD45+ leukocytes are regularly observed in the fallopian tube and are mainly composed of CD163+ macrophages, CD11c+ dendritic cells, and CD8+ T cells. In addition, there are minor populations of CD56+ NK cells, CD4+ T cells, CD20+ B cells, TCRgd+ T cells, and, among dendritic cells, CD207(Langerin)+ Langerhans cells. The cellular mapping that we performed indicates that the local immune system in the human fallopian tube is composed of a mixture of innate and adaptive immune cells, many of which are recognized as playing a role in cancer immune surveillance. This local immune system could provide a first line of defense against early precancerous lesions and could potentially be exploited for immune-based therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-591
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Gynecological Pathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2014


  • Dendritic and NK cells
  • Digital microscopy
  • Fallopian tube
  • Immune system
  • Ntraepithelial lymphocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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