An ultrastructural study of implantation in the golden hamster. II. Trophoblastic invasion and removal of the uterine epithelium.
Sixty six implantation sites from 18 golden hamsters were examined with light and electron microscopy between 4 and 5 1/2 days of pregnancy (post-ovulation). At 4 days some blastocysts began to invade the uterine epithelium, with trophoblastic processes penetrating and engulfing portions of the uterine epithelium. The majority of epithelial cells appeared normal before invasion, although at two implantation sites three or four adjoining epithelial cells were necrotic before penetration by the trophoblast. In general the epithelial cells were degenerating at the time the trophoblast invaded the epithelium. Inclusions, representing portions of the engulfed epithelium, and varying in size and electron density, were present throughout the invading trophoblast cells at 4 1/2 and 5 days of pregnancy. At 5 1/2 days the uterine epithelium had disappeared and the embryo was now almost completely surrounded by blood lacunae. (+info)
Molecular control of the implantation window.
Human endometrium is the end organ of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis. Therefore, endometrium is susceptible to changes in the cases of infertility that originate from disturbances in the normal functioning of this axis. In addition, some cases of unexplained infertility may be due to altered endometrial function. This disturbed endometrial function may originate from lesions in the molecular repertoire that are crucial to implantation. Human endometrium becomes receptive to implantation by the blastocyst within a defined period during the menstrual cycle. The duration of this so-called 'endometrial receptivity' or 'implantation' period seems to span from few days after ovulation to several days prior to menstruation. Successful implantation results from a co-ordinated series of events that would allow establishment of a timely dialogue between a receptive endometrium and an intrusive blastocyst. The members of the molecular repertoire that make endometrium receptive to implantation are gradually being recognized. Among these are the cytokines, integrins, heat shock proteins, tastin and trophinin. In addition, the expression of a second set of genes including tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and ebaf, may be the appropriate signal for the closure of the 'implantation window', for making the endometrium refractory to implantation and for preparing it for the menstrual shedding. (+info)
Utero-ovarian interaction in the regulation of reproductive function.
The physiological regulation of fertile reproductive cycle in mammals depends on interactions between hypothalamus-pituitary, ovarian and uterine stimuli. Over the past 20 years, much has been learned about the interrelation between the affluent and effluent lymph and vascular drainage in and around both ovarian and uterine tissues. An essential feature in the regulation of the fertile cycle is the functional status of the ovary, particularly the corpus luteum. During the time of implantation and the early pregnancy, an active corpus luteum is essential. As human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) is important in the maintenance of the corpus luteum, we investigated if it was produced by the cyclic endometrium. Immunohistochemical and in-situ hybridization reactions were performed but neither identified the presence of HCG during the proliferative phase. Positive staining and beta-human chorionic gonadotrophin (beta-HCG) mRNA were observed during the secretory phase in the glandular cells of the endometrium. The results were confirmed by Western blotting of secretory phase endometrium extracts and assessment of the functional secretory capacity of primary endometrial cultures. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) investigations showed a positive result in the secretory phase. We postulate that, based on the very close morphological interrelation between the uterus and the ovary, the beta-HCG of the endometrium is the primary factor for the maintenance of the corpus luteum and early pregnancy. (+info)
Role of proteases in implantation.
Implantation of the embryo into the endometrium is a critical step in the establishment of pregnancy and the failure of embryos to implant is a major limiting factor in the success of reproductive technologies. Furthermore, one or more of the molecules of importance at implantation could provide a suitable target for post-coital contraception. While there is considerable species variation in the extent to which the trophoblast invades the maternal endometrium and makes contact with the maternal blood supply, many of the molecular mechanisms are conserved among species. Three families of protease are involved in the matrix degradation required for implantation: the cysteine, serine and matrix metalloproteinases. Other proteases are required for the activation of regulatory molecules. Although trophoblast from all species appears to have a high invasive potential, this is limited by the presence of partner protease inhibitors, the presence of which provides restraint to this invasion. It is the balance between the proteases and their inhibitors at any focal point that determines the site and extent of trophoblast invasion. This review examines the literature regarding proteases and their inhibitors at early implantation sites across a range of species with very different forms of placentation and evaluates their common features and their dissimilarities. (+info)
Expression of calcium binding protein D-9k messenger RNA in the mouse uterine endometrium during implantation.
To investigate the molecular mechanisms of implantation, we constructed a cDNA library of mouse uteri enriched with pregnancy-induced genes by subtractive hybridization and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). One of the isolated clones was the cDNA for the calcium binding protein D-9k (Cabp9k), which is considered to regulate intracytoplasmic concentration and transport of free calcium ions. Northern blot and in-situ hybridization analyses demonstrated that the Cabp9k mRNA was expressed in the endometrial epithelia, both luminal and glandular, in the uterus at the time of implantation. On pregnancy day 5 it was detected in the luminal, but not in the glandular, epithelia. In the oophorectomized adult mice, progesterone enhanced Cabp9k mRNA expression in the uterus, whereas oestrogen did not. Consistent with this, a nucleotide change was identified in the first intron of mouse Cabp9k gene corresponding to the oestrogen responsive element in the rat Cabp9k gene. Transfer of embryos into the uterine cavity of pseudopregnant mice reduced the expression of Cabp9k mRNA in the glandular epithelium, suggesting that Cabp9k mRNA expression is also regulated by embryonal signal(s). These findings demonstrated that Cabp9k mRNA is expressed in the endometrial epithelia during the implantation period under the control of progesterone and the presence of embryo, and suggest that CaBP9k plays a role in implantation by regulating the local calcium concentrations. (+info)
Intraperitoneal insemination of the guinea pig with synchronized estrus induced by progesterone implant.
Female guinea pigs with synchronized ovulation by means of implantation of progesterone-filled tubing (P-tube) followed by a progesterone injection, were inseminated by intraperitoneal injection with sperm suspension. First, to obtain the optimum conditions for insemination, the females were inseminated singly over the range of 1-10 x 10(7) spermatozoa before and after the synchronized ovulation. The incidence of conception and implantation was 100% in the females given more than 5 x 10(7)/animal at 9:00 h on the 5th day after removal of the P-tube. Second, the reproductive ability of the inseminated females under this optimal condition was observed throughout the pregnancy to delivery. Inseminated females had a mean +/- S.D. gestation period of 68.7 +/- 0.5 days, a litter size of 2.8 +/- 0.6 pups and body weight of 110 +/- 14 g. These data were comparable to those of naturally-mated females. Our findings suggest that the artificial insemination by intraperitoneal injection in combination with the synchronized estrus technique is very useful for production control in a small colony of guinea pigs. (+info)
Matrilysin activity in the rat uterus during the oestrous cycle and implantation.
The objective of this study was to follow changes in the activity of the small matrix metalloproteinase matrilysin (MMP-7) in the rat uterus during the oestrous cycle and embryo implantation. Matrilysin was extracted from rat uteri, partially purified and separated into active and latent forms. The two forms of the enzyme were quantified at all stages of the oestrous cycle and after oestradiol and progesterone treatment. The activity was also measured during the first 7 days of pregnancy. Both latent and active forms of MMP-7 reached a peak during the pro-oestrous stage of the cycle; the concentrations were three times higher than at dioestrus and metoestrus. In rats treated with 0.1 mg oestradiol at metoestrus, both latent and active forms of the enzyme increased by more than two-fold after 24 h. In rats treated at pro-oestrus with 0.4 mg progesterone, there was a 70% increase in latent MMP-7, but no change in the active form. The highest concentrations of MMP-7 were observed on the first day of pregnancy. Between days 3 and 7 of pregnancy, the concentrations were relatively constant and comparable to the low concentrations at dioestrus. Enzyme activities were not different at implantation sites compared with remote sites. (+info)
Regulated expression of cadherin-11 in human extravillous cytotrophoblasts undergoing aggregation and fusion in response to transforming growth factor beta 1.
Transforming growth factor beta 1 is believed to be a key regulator of extravillous cytotrophoblast invasion during the first trimester of pregnancy. In addition, this growth factor has been shown to regulate cellular differentiation and fusion in cultured extravillous cytotrophoblasts. To date, the cellular mechanisms by which transforming growth factor beta 1 promotes these developmental processes remain poorly understood. Recent studies indicate that the expression of the novel cadherin subtype, known as cadherin-11, is associated with the terminal differentiation and fusion of villous cytotrophoblasts isolated from the human term placenta and human myoblasts in vitro. In this study, cadherin-11 mRNA and protein expression were examined in primary cultures of human extravillous cytotrophoblasts cultured in the presence of increasing concentrations of transforming growth factor beta 1 using northern and western blot analysis, respectively. Transforming growth factor beta 1 was shown to increase cadherin-11 mRNA and protein expression in these cultured extravillous cytotrophoblasts in a dose-dependent manner. Cadherin-11 was further localized to the large cellular aggregates and multinucleated cells that formed in response to increasing concentrations of transforming growth factor beta 1 using immunocytochemistry. Collectively, these observations suggest that the morphogenetic effects of transforming growth factor beta 1 on cultured extravillous cytotrophoblasts are mediated, at least in part, by an increase in cadherin-11 expression. This study not only adds to the understanding of the cellular mechanisms by which transforming growth factor beta 1 promotes trophoblast differentiation and fusion but provides useful insight into the cell biology of the cadherins. (+info)