The Proliferative Phase Underpins Endometrial Receptivity Failure in Female Infertility

Investigators: Harriet Fitzgerald1,2, Prof Lois Salamonsen1,2, Prof Luk Rombauts1,2,3, A/Prof Beverly Vollenhoven1,2,3, Dr. Tracey Edgell1,4

1Centre for Reproductive Health, Hudson Institute of Medical Research, Clayton;  2Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Monash University;  3Monash IVF, Clayton; 4Monash University, Clayton.

The endometrium is the lining of the uterus, into which an embryo implants to establish pregnancy. The human endometrium is uniquely renewed each month during a menstrual cycle, which comprises three main phases, beginning with the shedding of the functional layer of the endometrium and its re-epithelialisation (the menstrual phase), followed by the regrowth and proliferation of all endometrial cell types and development of the glands. Endometrial gland development occurs during the proliferative phase of a woman’s menstrual cycle, laying the foundation for the subsequent receptive, secretory phase when pregnancy is established. Idiopathic infertility has been rarely investigated with respect to the proliferative phase endometrium. We investigated whether gland development and/or altered secretion of cytokines during the proliferative phase is associated with infertility. We assessed the numbers of glands in endometrial tissue and applied cytokine screening and proteomic techniques to identify dysregulation within uterine lavage, from the proliferative phase of fertile and infertile women. This study indicates for the first time, that the proliferative phase uterine microenvironment is altered in younger infertile women compared to fertile women.

The results for this project were published in the journal Cytokine in 2016.

Reference: Fitzgerald HC, Salamonsen LA, Rombauts LJR, Vollenhoven BJ, Edgell TA. The proliferative phase underpins endometrial development: Altered cytokine profiles in uterine lavage fluid of women with idiopathic infertility. Cytokine. 2016 Aug; 88: 12-19.


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