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Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2004 Jul 7;2:54.

Microarray profiling of progesterone-regulated endometrial genes during the rhesus monkey secretory phase.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA.



In the endometrium the steroid hormone progesterone (P), acting through its nuclear receptors, regulates the expression of specific target genes and gene networks required for endometrial maturation. Proper endometrial maturation is considered a requirement for embryo implantation. Endometrial receptivity is a complex process that is spatially and temporally restricted and the identity of genes that regulate receptivity has been pursued by a number of investigators.


In this study we have used high density oligonucleotide microarrays to screen for changes in mRNA transcript levels between normal proliferative and adequate secretory phases in Rhesus monkey artificial menstrual cycles. Biotinylated cRNA was prepared from day 13 and days 21-23 of the reproductive cycle and transcript levels were compared by hybridization to Affymetrix HG-U95A arrays.


Of approximately 12,000 genes profiled, we identified 108 genes that were significantly regulated during the shift from a proliferative to an adequate secretory endometrium. Of these genes, 39 were up-regulated at days 21-23 versus day 13, and 69 were down-regulated. Genes up-regulated in P-dominant tissue included: secretoglobin (uteroglobin), histone 2A, polo-like kinase (PLK), spermidine/spermine acetyltransferase 2 (SAT2), secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor (SLPI) and metallothionein 1G (MT1G), all of which have been previously documented as elevated in the Rhesus monkey or human endometrium during the secretory phase. Genes down-regulated included: transforming growth factor beta-induced (TGFBI or BIGH3), matrix metalloproteinase 11 (stromelysin 3), proenkephalin (PENK), cysteine/glycine-rich protein 2 (CSRP2), collagen type VII alpha 1 (COL7A1), secreted frizzled-related protein 4 (SFRP4), progesterone receptor membrane component 1 (PGRMC1), chemokine (C-X-C) ligand 12 (CXCL12) and biglycan (BGN). In addition, many novel/unknown genes were also identified. Validation of array data was performed by semi-quantitative RT-PCR of two selected up-regulated genes using temporal (cycle day specific) endometrial cDNA populations. This approach confirmed up-regulation of WAP four-disulfide core domain 2 (WFDC2) and SLPI during the expected window of receptivity.


The identification of P-regulated genes and gene pathways in the primate endometrium is expected to be an important first step in elucidating the cellular processes necessary for the development of a receptive environment for implantation.

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