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Fertil Steril. 1995 Mar;63(3):535-42.

Integrins as markers of uterine receptivity in women with primary unexplained infertility.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599-7570.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess uterine receptivity in women with unexplained infertility using integrin cell adhesion molecules as markers.

DESIGN:

Prospective, controlled study design.

PATIENTS:

Eighty-seven nulliparous women with unexplained infertility and 32 fertile and infertile parous controls.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:

Immunohistochemical staining for alpha 1, alpha 4, and beta 3 integrin subunits in endometrial biopsies obtained during the window of implantation (days 20 to 24), using the semiquantitative HSCORE by two observers in a blinded fashion.

RESULTS:

All endometrial biopsies from parous controls contained positive immunostaining for the alpha 1, and beta 3 integrin subunits in glandular epithelium. Some samples from parous controls were missing the alpha 4 subunit. In contrast, compared with parous controls, biopsies from women with unexplained infertility had reduced significantly beta 3 expression, with similar expression of alpha 1 and alpha 4. Two distinct defects in integrin expression were identified: "out-of-phase" samples that lacked beta 3 because of histologic lag (type I defects) and "in-phase" endometrium that still failed to express this integrin (type II defects). These subclassifications accounted for 26% and 39% of the total unexplained infertility group, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS:

Abnormal endometrial integrin expression was a frequent finding in women with unexplained infertility. These data suggest that defective uterine receptivity may be an unrecognized cause of infertility in this population of women.

PMID:
7851583
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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