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Histochemistry. 1991;96(4):279-83.

Expression of fibronectin receptor (integrin) in the uterus of rats in relation to the estrous cycle.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Kinki University School of Medicine, Osaka, Japan.


The expression and localization of fibronectin receptor (integrin), fibronectin, laminin and collagen type IV in the endometrium of the rat uterus during each period of the estrous cycle were investigated by immunofluorescent microscopy. Fibronectin receptor was observed at the epithelial cells of the endometrium and at vascular endothelial cells. At proestrus, when epithelial cells actively migrate, fibronectin receptor was observed at the basal and lateral epithelial cell surfaces. During estrus, fibronectin receptor had begun to disappear, little fibronectin receptor was observed at metestrus or diestrus. No prominent changes in the localization of fibronectin (seen at the vascular endothelial cells and in the stroma) or of laminin and collagen type IV (seen at the muscles and at the basement membranes of the epithelial and vascular endothelial cells) were observed in relation to the estrous cycle. Thus, uterine epithelial cells, like epithelial cells of the healing cornea, increase their expression of fibronectin receptor during active migration, probably facilitating their attachment to stromal fibronectin. This fibronectin-fibronectin receptor mechanism may underlie epithelial repair, whether the defect results from physiological processes or from an insult.

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