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Endocrinology. 2007 Nov;148(11):5433-41. Epub 2007 Aug 9.

Progesterone, but not estrogen, stimulates vessel maturation in the mouse endometrium.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia. jane.girling@med.monash.edu.au


The human endometrium undergoes regular periods of growth and regression, including concomitant changes in the vasculature, and is one of the few adult tissues where significant angiogenesis and vascular maturation occurs on a routine, physiological basis. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of estrogen and progesterone on endometrial vascular maturation in mice. Endometrial tissues were collected from early pregnant mice (d 1-4) and ovariectomized mice given a single 17beta-estradiol (100 ng) injection 24 h before dissection (short-term estrogen regime) or three consecutive daily injections of progesterone (1 mg) with/without estrogen priming (progesterone regime). Experiments were then repeated with the inclusion of mice treated concurrently with progesterone and either RU486 or a vascular endothelial growth factor-A antiserum. Proliferating vascular mural cells (PVMC) were observed on d 3-4 of pregnancy, corresponding with an increase in circulating progesterone. A significant increase in PVMC and alpha-smooth muscle actin (labels mural cells) coverage of vessel profiles were observed in mice treated with progesterone in comparison to controls; no significant change was noted in mice treated with estrogen or with vascular endothelial growth factor antiserum. RU486 treatment did not inhibit the progesterone-induced increases in PVMC and mural cell coverage, although progesterone-induced changes in endothelial and epithelial cell proliferation were inhibited. These results show that progesterone, but not estrogen, stimulates vessel maturation in the mouse endometrium. The work illustrates the relevancy of the mouse model for understanding endometrial vascular remodeling during the menstrual cycle and in response to the clinically important progesterone receptor antagonist RU486.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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