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Braz J Med Biol Res. 2003 Aug;36(8):1067-71. Epub 2003 Jul 23.

Distribution of versican and hyaluronan in the mouse uterus during decidualization.

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  • 1Departamento de Histologia e Embriologia, Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brasil.


Preparation for embryo implantation requires extensive adaptation of the uterine microenvironment. This process consists of cell proliferation and cell differentiation resulting in the transformation of endometrial fibroblasts into a new type of cell called decidual cell. In the present study, we followed the space-time distribution of versican and hyaluronan (HA) in different tissues of the uterus before and after embryo implantation. Fragments of mouse uteri obtained on the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh days of pregnancy were fixed in Methacarn, embedded in Paraplast and cut into 5-microm thick sections. HA was detected using a biotinylated fragment of the proteoglycan aggrecan, which binds to this glycosaminoglycan with high affinity and specificity. Versican was detected by a polyclonal antibody. Both reactions were developed by peroxidase methods. Before embryo implantation, both HA and versican were present in the endometrial stroma. However, after embryo implantation, HA disappeared from the decidual region immediately surrounding the implantation chamber, whereas versican accumulated in the same region. The differences observed in the expression of HA and versican suggest that both molecules may participate in the process of endometrial decidualization and/or embryo implantation.

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