Effect of cigarette smoking on human oviductal ciliation and ciliogenesis

Cigarette smoking is not associated with quantitative differences in ciliation or ciliogenesis factor expression in human oviducts, suggesting other pathophysiologic mechanisms underlie the increased risk of ectopic pregnancy in women who smoke.


Bruce Pier, M.D., Avedis Kazanjian, Ph.D., Laurie Gillette, M.Sc., Karen Strenge, M.D., Richard O. Burney, M.D., M.Sc.

Volume 99, Issue 1, Pages 199-205, January 2013



To investigate the effect of cigarette smoke exposure on ciliation and ciliogenesis in human oviductal epithelium.


Molecular analysis using human tubal segments.


Academic medical center.


Twenty women undergoing elective tubal sterilization procedure.


Expression of ciliated cell specific markers was compared in tubal segments from smokers and non-smokers using quantitative immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis. The expression of transcription factors in the motile ciliogenesis program was compared using quantitative PCR and quantitative immunohistochemistry.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Oviductal ciliation and expression of transcription factors involved in ciliogenesis.


No significant differences were detected in density of ciliation between groups. Neither number of years of smoking nor pack year history correlated with density of ciliation. Expression of ciliogenic transcription factors FOXJ1, RFX2, and RFX3 was consistent between groups.


Few studies have evaluated the relationship between smoking and ciliated epithelium in human oviducts. Cigarette smoking does not appear to result in quantitative differences in the density of ciliation nor expression of ciliogenesis factors. Our findings suggest that pathophysiologic mechanisms other than ciliation account for the increased risk of ectopic pregnancy in women who smoke.

Read the full text at: http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(12)02129-2/fulltext

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