Send to

Choose Destination
Mol Hum Reprod. 2002 May;8(5):447-55.

Hormonal regulation of apoptosis and the Fas and Fas ligand system in human endometrial cells.

Author information

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Yale University, School of Medicine, 333 Cedar St FMB 202, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


The process of apoptosis is responsible for normal cellular turnover in numerous tissues throughout the body. The endometrial layer of the uterus shows steroid-dependent cyclic changes in structure and function. After a proliferative and secretory phase, steroid support is withdrawn and the uterine epithelium is shed. We hypothesize that the apoptosis observed in endometrial cells following hormonal withdrawal is mediated by the Fas/Fas ligand (FasL) system. Normal endometrial cells and endometrial cancer cells were cultured in the presence of estrogen and progesterone. In order to mimic physiological hormonal changes, estrogen and progesterone were removed from the media. Apoptosis was determined by 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-dephenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay and propidium iodide staining, while Fas and FasL expression were evaluated by Western blot analysis. The endometrial cells expressed Fas and low levels of FasL. Withdrawal of estrogen and/or progesterone from the culture induced apoptosis causing an approximately 50% decrease in cell viability. This coincided with increased Fas and FasL expression. Treatment of the cells with anti-FasL antibody prevented cell death following hormonal withdrawal. Estrogen and progesterone therefore represent survival factors which hamper cell death by impeding the expression of apoptotic factors. Our results indicate that Fas-mediated apoptosis is important for endometrial cycling and suggest that dysregulation of the Fas/FasL interactions may have an important role in the development of endometrial cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center