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Fertil Steril. 2005 Mar;83(3):580-6.

Heparanase improves mouse embryo implantation.

Author information

1
Department of Gynecology, Hadassah-Hebrew Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel. revel@md.huji.ac.il

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To improve mouse embryonic implantation by recombinant heparanase supplementation. Heparanase, an endoglycosidase-degrading heparan sulfate proteoglycan, may have a role in embryonic implantation because of its enzymatic, angiogenic, and adhesive properties. Increasing endometrial receptivity could improve one of the most difficult pathologies in human fertility.

DESIGN:

Comparison between mouse blastocysts obtained after 24-hour incubation of morulae with or without heparanase.

SETTING:

Experimental laboratory in a medical center.

ANIMAL(S):

Mice.

INTERVENTION(S):

Morulae were flushed from CB6F1 female mice and incubated for 24 hours at 37 degrees C in M16 medium supplemented with 0.1 mg/mL heparanase (n = 203), with albumin (n = 60), or with medium alone (n = 258).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):

Blastocysts were evaluated by heparanase immunostaining (n = 10), activity assay (n = 283), and transfer to foster mice uterine horns (n = 228). The number of implantation sites was compared.

RESULT(S):

Immunostaining demonstrated that heparanase is constitutively expressed in mouse morulae and blastocyts. Heparanase supplementation resulted in increased staining and enzymatic activity in blastocyts. Implantation rates for the heparanase, M16 medium, and albumin groups, were 36.9%, 17.8%, and 20%, respectively (P<.01).

CONCLUSION(S):

Heparanase was found to be constitutively expressed by blastocyst-stage embryos. Moreover, the amount of heparanase was markedly increased by incubation of morulae with recombinant heparanase, evaluated by immunostaining and enzymatic activity. Heparanase supplementation resulted in approximately a twofold increase in embryo implantation rate in vivo. Taken together, these data suggest that heparanase is actively involved in embryo implantation.

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