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Reprod Biomed Online. 2009 Jan;18(1):85-94.

Cytokine profiling in endometrial secretions: a non-invasive window on endometrial receptivity.

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  • 1Department of Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecology, University Medical Centre, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Investigation of human embryo implantation requires a non-disruptive means of studying the endometrium during the window of implantation. This study describes a novel approach of cytokine profiling in endometrial secretions. Endometrial secretions aspirated prior to embryo transfer from 210 women undergoing IVF or intracytoplasmic sperm injection were analysed by a multiplex immunoassay. Ten mediators [interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-6, IL-12, IL-18, tumour necrosis factor-alpha, macrophage migration inhibitory factor, eotaxin, monocyte chemotactic protein-1, interferon-gamma inducible protein-10, vascular endothelial growth factor] were detectable in 90-100% of the samples. Heparin-binding epidermal growth factor, IL-5, IL-17, IL-10, Dickkopf homologue-1 and IL-15 were detected in 23-76%, whereas interferon-gamma was not detectable in any of the samples. To assess possible contamination of samples, cervical mucus was also aspirated for comparative analysis in 22 women. The endometrial cytokine profile differed significantly from cervical mucus. Pregnancy rates of the study participants who underwent endometrial secretion aspiration were compared with 210 controls matched for important prognostic variables; no significant differences were found. In conclusion, cytokine profiling in endometrial secretion offers an objective, non-disruptive means of analysing the in-vivo milieu encountered by the embryo and offers a new and potentially valuable approach to studying the endometrial factor in human embryo implantation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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