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To examine glycoconjugates in the isthmic and ampullar regions of the uterine tube (oviduct) of horses during estrus, diestrus, and pregnancy.

Sample Population

Oviductal samples from 17 mares.


Oviducts were collected during estrus (n = 3), diestrus (n = 3), or pregnancy (n = 3), embedded, and snap frozen in liquid nitrogen. Frozen sections (5 to 6 μm in thickness) were stained with 100 μg/ml of fluorescein-isothiocyanate-conjugated lectin (30 min at 38.5 C) and were evaluated by use of epifluorescence microscopy and video image analysis. Specificity of lectins was established by blocking with the corresponding carbohydrate. Dolichos biflorus agglutinin (DBA)-affinity studies on western blots of oviductal lavage fluid, oviductal explant conditioned media, and apical membrane proteins from isthmic and ampullar regions of oviducts were used to identify glycoproteins with galactosyl residues.


Use of 4 lectins resulted in differential labeling of the luminal surface of the oviductal epithelium. Both DBA and soybean agglutinin labeled the apical epithelium of the isthmus, but not the ampullar oviduct. Soybean agglutinin resulted in more-intensely labeled epithelium in the isthmic region of oviducts during estrus and pregnancy than during diestrus. The DBA labeled a number of glycoproteins in conditioned media from both regions of the oviduct. These glycoproteins ranged from 14 to 200 kd, with major glycoproteins identified at 31 and 57 kd.


The predominant glycoconjugates in the oviduct of horses are galactosyl residues. There are regional differences in the distribution of these galactosyl glycoconjugates in the isthmic and ampullar oviduct. (Am J Vet Res 1997;58:816–822)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research