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Keywords:

  • Primate;
  • Uterus;
  • Menstrual Cycle;
  • Pregnancy;
  • growth factors;
  • secretory proteins

Summary

The primate endometrium undergoes distinct morphological changes during the menstrual cycle. These alterations are regulated by the steroid hormones, estrogen and progesterone. Several lines of evidence suggest that some of these hormonally induced changes may be modulated by growth factors. Our studies have focused on characterizing the secretory activity of the uterine endometrium associated with these hormonally regulated morphological changes during the menstrual cycle and pregnancy in the baboon. Additionally, we have also attempted to study the regulation of specific growth factors and their receptors. In this review we present evidence to indicate that growth factor receptors for insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) and epidermal growth factor (EGF), and secretory proteins, insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 (IGFBP-1) and retinol binding protein (RBP), which are present in the glandular epithelium during the menstrual cycle, undergo cell-specific changes in gene expression at the implantation site during pregnancy. We postulate that these alterations in growth factor receptor and secretory protein expression are conceptus modulated and may play important regulatory roles during trophoblast invasion and decidualization.