Mouse endometrial stromal cells produce basement-membrane components


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Abstract. During mouse pregnancy, uterine stromal cells transform into morphologically distinct decidual cells under the influence of the implanting embryo and a proper hormonal environment. Mechanical stimulation of hormonally primed uterine stromal cells leads to the same morphologic alterations. The decidualization of stromal cells is characterized by the accumulation of pericellular basement-membrane material. Decidualized stromal cells of pregnancy differ in this respect from stromal cells obtained from nonpregnant uteri, which are not associated with any significant amounts of basement-membrane components. Mouse decidual cells isolated from 6- to 7-day pregnant uteri explanted in vitro continue to synthesize basement-membrane-like extracellular matrix. Using immunohistochemistry and metabolic labeling followed by immunoprecipitation, SDS-PAGE, and fluorography, it was shown that the decidual cells synthesize laminin, entactin, fibronectin, type-IV collagen, and heparan sulfate proteoglycan. Stromal cells isolated from nonpregnant uteri and explanted in vitro produced the same basement-membrane components. Apparently, these cells were stimulated by the procedure used during isolation and explantation to undergo pseudodecidualization. We thus showed that stromal cells from pregnant and nonpregnant mouse uteri synthesize significant amounts of basement-membrane components in vitro, and hence could serve as a good model for the study of normal basement-membrane components.