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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Apr;87(4):1845-55.

Vascular proliferation and vascular endothelial growth factor expression in the rhesus macaque endometrium.

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Division of Reproductive Sciences, Oregon Regional Primate Research Center, Beaverton, Oregon 97006, USA.


The relationship between vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression and the pattern of vascular proliferation in the rhesus macaque endometrium has not been studied. In this report, we used in situ hybridization to evaluate VEGF, VEGF receptor type 1 and VEGF receptor type 2 mRNA expression during hormonally regulated menstrual cycles in ovariectomized macaques. Proliferating endothelial cells were identified by a double immunocytochemistry procedure that detected Ki-67 antigen and von Willebrand factor in the same endothelial cells. One and 2 d after progesterone withdrawal (premenstrual), VEGF mRNA was up-regulated in the glands and stroma of the superficial endometrial zones, a finding that supports our previous suggestion that VEGF may play a role in the menstrual induction cascade. During the postmenstrual repair phase, the healing surface epithelium showed a further, dramatic increase in expression of VEGF mRNA, accompanied by strong increases in signals for VEGF receptor types 1 and 2 in multiple profiles of small blood vessels immediately below the surface epithelium. This finding implicates VEGF in the early angiogenic processes associated with endometrial healing and regeneration. Vascular endothelial proliferation persisted throughout the cycle in the upper endometrial zones and showed a dramatic estrogen- dependent peak during the midproliferative phase. This proliferative peak coincided with a peak in VEGF expression in the endometrial stroma. Endothelial proliferation was also significantly correlated with the degree of stromal VEGF expression during the proliferative and secretory stages of the cycle. These results implicate VEGF of stromal origin in endometrial vascular proliferation.

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