Novel insights into human endometrial paracrinology and embryo-maternal communication by intrauterine microdialysis.
The regulation of human implantation is still unknown. Evidence from mice suggests an essential role for several paracrine mediators but species differences with implantation in the human preclude the extrapolation of these concepts to humans. An intrauterine microdialysis device (IUMD), consisting of microdialysis tubing glued into a balloon catheter on one side and into a polypropylene tube on the other, allows a dynamic and accurate in-vivo measurement of uterine paracrine interactions in humans. Inserted into the uterine cavity in the form of a loop, it can be continuously perfused with saline to reveal a number of relevant cytokines and growth factors in uterine effluents of non-pregnant women in both follicular and luteal phases. These included interleukin (IL)-1alpha, IL-1beta, IL-6, leukaemia inhibitory factor (LIF), macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF), epidermal growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 (IGFBP-1), prolactin, and human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG). The source of intrauterine HCG is unclear since endometrial mRNA for the HCG beta-subunit is not revealed using reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction analysis. Applying urinary HCG locally via the IUMD profoundly alters endometrial secretory parameters. Prolactin, IGFBP-1, and M-CSF are significantly inhibited and VEGF is regulated in a biphasic manner involving early stimulation followed by inhibition of intrauterine levels. Use of the IUMD has thus shown that the urinary HCG preparations routinely used for ovulation induction and luteal support may directly alter endometrial function. (+info)
Marker molecules of human endometrial differentiation can be hormonally regulated under in-vitro conditions as in-vivo.
An established cell culture system of isolated human endometrial stromal and epithelial cells has been used to study the effects of oestrogen and progesterone, as well as their antagonists, upon endometrial cells. Normal hormonal regulation in vivo was investigated simultaneously in endometrial tissue samples taken at different phases of the menstrual cycle. Several marker molecules analysed by immunohistochemistry appeared to depend strongly on endocrine regulation and could be traced in culture. Immunohistochemically, basic parameters of cell biology were identified in vitro, e.g. cell proliferation (Ki-67), adhesion molecules (beta3 integrin) and paracrine factors (leukaemia inhibitory factor). The most reliable parameters to assess hormonal influences were oestrogen and progesterone receptor molecules. Immunohistochemical localization could be improved by molecular biological analysis using RT-PCR. In the presence of oestrogen, a significant expression of hormone receptors was also shown by RT-PCR, and withdrawal of oestrogens and addition of gestagen, i.e. medroxyprogesterone acetate, caused receptor downregulation. Addition of the anti-oestrogen ICI 182.780 to cell-culture medium significantly decreased the synthesis of progesterone receptors. (+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)
Endometrial oestrogen and progesterone receptors and their relationship to sonographic appearance of the endometrium.
The rapid development of ultrasonographic equipment now permits instantaneous assessment of follicles and endometrium. The sonographic appearance of the endometrium has been discussed in relation to in-vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles. However, a generally agreed view of the relationship of the sonographic appearance to fecundity in IVF cycles has not emerged. We have studied the relationship between steroid receptors and the sonographic appearance of the preovulatory endometrium in natural cycles and ovulation induction cycles. Preovulatory endometrial thickness was not found to be indicative of fecundity, although a preovulatory endometrial thickness of <9 mm related to an elevated miscarriage rate. The preovulatory endometrial echo pattern did not predict fecundity. No relationships were found among endometrial appearance, endometrial steroid receptors and steroid hormone concentrations in serum. Oestrogen or progesterone receptor concentrations were not related to endometrial thickness or to concentrations of serum oestradiol, the only significant correlation being found between the endometrial concentrations of oestrogen and progesterone receptors. The ratio of progesterone:oestrogen receptor concentration was somewhat less in echo pattern B (not triple line) endometrium compared with pattern A (triple line) endometrium. Oestrogen and progesterone receptor concentrations appeared stable on gonadotrophin induction, though fewer numbers were found during clomiphene cycles than in natural cycles. With regard to the distribution of receptor concentration between clomiphene and natural cycles, most women using clomiphene had very low oestrogen receptor populations. Pregnancy rates were low, in spite of high ovulatory rates during clomiphene treatment and were mainly related to low oestrogen receptor concentrations in preovulatory endometrium. (+info)
Oxytocin and vasopressin receptors in human and uterine myomas during menstrual cycle and early pregnancy.
The purpose of this study was to determine the specificity and concentration of oxytocin (OT) and arginine vasopressin (AVP) binding sites in non-pregnant (NP) human and rhesus monkey endometrium, myometrium and fibromyomas, and to determine the cellular localization of OT receptor (OTR). Besides [3H]AVP, [125I]LVA, a specific VP1 receptor subtype antagonist, was used to determine vasopressin receptor (VPR) concentrations. Samples were obtained from 42 pre-menopausal and three pregnant women (5, 13 and 35 weeks gestation), and several NP and pregnant monkeys. Specificity of binding was assessed in competition experiments with unlabelled agonists and antagonists of known pharmacological potency. Cellular localization of OTR was determined by immunohistochemistry. In NP human uterine tissues, [3H]AVP was bound with higher affinity and greater binding capacity than [3H]OT, whereas in pregnant women and in NP and pregnant rhesus monkeys, uterine OT binding capacity was greater. OT and AVP binding sites discriminated very poorly between OT and AVP; [125I]LVA binding sites were more selective than [3H]AVP. Their ligand specificity and binding kinetics indicated the presence of two distinct populations of binding sites for OT and AVP in primate uterus. Endometrium of NP women and monkeys had low OTR and VPR concentrations. Myometrial and endometrial OTR and VPR were down-regulated in midcycle and in early human pregnancy, they were up-regulated in the secretory phase and second half of pregnancy. Immunoreactive OTR in NP uterus was localized in patches of myometrial muscle cells and small numbers of endometrial epithelial cells. (+info)
Expression of the oxytocin receptor in relation to steroid receptors in the uterus of a primate model, the marmoset monkey.
The dynamics of the receptors for oestrogen (ER), progesterone (PR) and oxytocin (OTR) in the marmoset uterus have been analysed throughout the entire cycle and early pregnancy. Uteri obtained during the early, mid/late and late proliferative phase, and the early, mid and late secretory phase and early pregnancy were examined by immunohistochemistry (OTR, ER, PR) and autoradiography (OTR). A massive upregulation of the ER in the cell nuclei of glandular epithelium and stromal cells during the mid proliferative phase was succeeded by a declining staining intensity and positively stained cell number in the secretory phase. PR immunoreactivity increased in the late proliferative phase and early secretory phase, mainly within the cell nuclei, and then declined in both intensity and cell number towards the mid to late secretory phase. Myometrium showed a similar staining pattern for the steroid receptors. OTR were expressed weakly in stroma throughout the entire cycle, increasing slightly in the secretory phase. Glandular epithelium showed positive staining only during the periovulatory period. Myometrial OTR expression was weak during the proliferative phase, increased towards the secretory phase, and was maximal in the late secretory phase. Myometrial tissue adjacent to endometrium was most strongly stained. A cyclic shift evidently occurred in the pattern of steroid receptors, perhaps reflecting the steroid environment or the luteinizing hormone increase associated with ovulation. (+info)
Sonographic evidence for the involvement of the utero-ovarian counter-current system in the ovarian control of directed uterine sperm transport.
Sperm transport from the cervix into the tube is an important uterine function within the process of reproduction. This function is exerted by uterine peristalsis and is controlled by the dominant ovarian structure via a cascade of endocrine events. The uterine peristaltic activity involves only the stratum subvasculare of the myometrium, which exhibits a predominantly circular arrangement of muscular fibres that separate at the fundal level into the fibres of the cornua and continue into the circular muscles of the respective tubes. Since spermatozoa are transported preferentially into the tube ipsilateral to the dominant follicle, this asymmetric uterine function may be controlled by the ovary via direct effects utilizing the utero-ovarian counter-current system, in addition to the systemic circulation. To test this possibility the sonographic characteristics of the uterine vascular bed were studied during different phases of the menstrual cycle. Vaginal sonography with the measurement of Doppler flow characteristics of both uterine arteries and of the arterial anastomoses of the uterine and ovarian arteries (junctional vessels) in the cornual region of both sides of the uterus during the menstrual phase of regular-cycling women demonstrated significant lower resistance indices of the junctional vessels ipsilateral to the side of the dominant ovarian structure as compared with the corresponding arteries contralaterally. By the use of the perfusion mode technique, it could be observed that vascular perfusion of the fundal myometrium was significantly increased ipsilateral to the dominant follicle during the late follicular phase of the cycle. These results show that the endocrine control of the dominant ovarian structure over uterine function is not only exerted via the systemic circulation but also directly, most probably utilizing the utero-ovarian counter-current system. (+info)
Phenotypic and functional studies of leukocytes in human endometrium and endometriosis.
The aetiology of endometriosis, a common and disabling disorder, is presently unknown, although immune dysfunction could allow ectopic endometrial fragments to survive outside the uterine cavity. These studies investigate the relationship between leukocyte populations, steroid hormone receptor expression, proliferative activity, bcl-2 expression and apoptosis in eutopic and ectopic endometrium from women with endometriosis or adenomyosis at different phases of the menstrual cycle. Significantly increased oestrogen receptor expression, bcl-2 expression and numbers of CD8+ leukocytes were found in ectopic compared with eutopic endometrium in endometriosis, and CD56+ endometrial granulated lymphocytes (eGLs) were significantly reduced in ectopic endometrium. Apoptotic cells were rarely found in control and subject endometria. In contrast with endometriosis, adenomyotic lesions showed identical steroid hormone receptor expression, proliferative activity, bcl-2 expression and leukocyte subpopulations to eutopic endometrium, indicating different aetiologies for these disorders. The unusual CD56+ CD16- eGLs present in large numbers in late secretory phase eutopic endometrium were highly purified (>98%) by immunomagnetic separation. Except for a negligible cytotoxic activity of eGLs from early proliferative samples, cytotoxic activity of eGLs from non-pregnant endometrium during the menstrual cycle was comparable with those in peripheral blood, predominantly CD56+ CD16+ natural killer cells. eGLs from non-pregnant endometrium and early pregnancy showed a variable proliferative response to 5 and 100 U/ml interleukin-2 over 48-h and 120-h time courses. eGLs are evidently functionally important in the eutopic endometrium. Their absence in endometriotic lesions together with increased CD+8 T-cell numbers and increased oestrogen receptor and bcl-2 expression may have significant effects on the development and progression of endometriosis. (+info)