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Mol Hum Reprod. 1996 Jan;2(1):31-4.

Expression of heparin-binding epidermal growth factor messenger RNA in the human endometrium.

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  • 1Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, UK.


Heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor (HB-EGF) is a member of the epidermal growth factor family. In rodents HB-EGF has been found to mediate the mitogenic effects of oestrogen on the endometrial glandular cells and those of progesterone on the stromal cells. HB-EGF has also been found to be expressed at the site of implantation before any other discernible sign of blastocyst attachment in rodents. Our aim was to determine whether HB-EGF mRNA was expressed in the human pregnant and non-pregnant endometrial tissues. Normal endometrial tissues at different stages of the menstrual cycle, first trimester chorionic villi and decidua, second trimester chorionic villi and term placental tissues were snap frozen and stored at -80 degrees C. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was used to analyse the expression of HB-EGF mRNA in these tissues. HB-EGF mRNA was found to be expressed in human endometrium throughout the menstrual cycle. It was also present in first trimester chorionic villi and decidua, second trimester villi and term placenta. These findings suggest that HB-EGF may have a role in the growth or function of the human uterus, and that it may be important at the feto-maternal interface throughout pregnancy.

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