• Endometrial cells;
  • implantation;
  • integrins;
  • peripheral lymphocytes

PROBLEM: To investigate the expression of integrin (ITG) cell adhesion molecules on peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) and their correlation with endometrial cell ITG expression in fertile and infertile women during peak uterine receptive period (day 19/20). METHOD OF STUDY: Surface marker expression and quantification of α6, α4 and β3 ITG subunits was done by immunohistochemistry, indirect immunofluroscence and cell-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay methods using endometrial cells and PBL obtained from fertile and infertile (unexplained infertility) women. RESULTS: The expression of ITGs was significantly (P<0.001) decreased in the endometrial cells of infertile women compared to normal fertile women. These results correlated well with the data obtained using PBL-ITG expression. CONCLUSIONS: If these preliminary data are consistent in a larger group of patients, the expression of α4 and β3-ITG subunits on PBL may be used as clinical markers to assess endometrial receptivity in infertile women. Moreover, frequent blood sampling is advantageous over repeated endometrial biopsies as the former approach is easier, non-traumatic and avoids intra-uterine infections.