Type 2 Cadherins in the Human Endometrium and Placenta: Their Putative Roles in Human Implantation and Placentation


Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, 2H30-4490 Oak Street, Vancouver, B.C. Canada, V6H 3V5.


PROBLEM: The Cadherins are a gene superfamily of calcium-dependent cell adhesion molecules. To date, the role(s) of the Cadherins in human implantation remains poorly defined. METHOD OF STUDY: The spatiotemporal expression of the type 2 Cadherins, known as Cadherin-11 and cadherin-6, in the endometrium and placenta was examined using the reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction.

RESULTS: Cadherin-6 and Cadherin-11 are differentially expressed in the endometrial stroma during the menstrual cycle. The switch between cadherin-6 and Cadherin-11 expression in the endometrial stroma occurs during the late secretory phase. Maximum Cadherin-11 mRNA levels were observed in the decidua of early pregnancy but were markedly reduced at term. In the placenta, Cadherin-11 is expressed in the syncytial trophoblast and extravillous cytotrophoblast columns. However, cadherin-6 seems to be the predominant Cadherin subtype present in highly invasive extravillous cytotrophoblasts.

CONCLUSION: Cadherin-11 and cadherin-6 may play a central role in the formation and organization of the human endometrium and placenta.