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Contraception. 2005 Apr;71(4):294-301.

Target-oriented anti-implantation approaches for pregnancy interception: experiences in the rhesus monkey model.

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Department of Physiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi 110029, India.


Blastocyst implantation is a critical process in the establishment of pregnancy in eutherian mammals and requires a harmonious symbiosis between the developing conceptus and the differentiating maternal uterus. A better understanding of this symbiotic relationship will provide novel approaches and interventions for realizing anti-implantation strategies for effective fertility regulation and reproductive health care management. We have been using the rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) as a nonhuman primate model to this end. In the present study, the process of progesterone-mediated regulation of endometrial receptivity for blastocyst implantation has been targeted by the use of mifepristone as an emergency contraceptive agent. Furthermore, based on cell-specific, temporal and spatial distribution of vasotropic cytokines and mediators in the "receptive" and periimplantation periods, the pregnancy interceptive potentials of (a) monoclonal antibody (MAb) to leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF); (b) inhibitors of nitric oxide synthase [e.g., N6-nitro-l-arginine (l-NAME) and aminoguanidine]; and (c) MAb to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were examined. LIF is a progesterone-responsive pleiotropic cytokine that functions as a proinflammatory cytokine, together with interleukins 1 and 6, during the process of implantation-placentation in primates, and its immunoneutralization with MAb resulted in inhibition (p<.04) of pregnancy establishment in the rhesus monkey. However, timed administration of l-NAME or aminoguanidine failed to inhibit blastocyst implantation in a significant manner. Also, no synergistic antinidatory action of antiprogestin combined with l-NAME was detected in the rhesus monkey. The application of MAb to VEGF during the periimplantation period, on the other hand, led to significant (p<.04) prevention of pregnancy without influencing steroid hormone levels in the circulation. Our data lend support to the hypothesis that VEGF is essential for pregnancy establishment and that trophoblast-derived VEGF, acting via its specific receptors Flt-1 and KDR, is necessary for blastocyst implantation. The use of cDNA-based expression arrays followed by differential display analysis has provided preliminary understanding of the nature of gene cluster networks operative in the receptive endometrium of potential conception cycles in the rhesus monkey. This knowledge may, in the future, lead to further innovative anti-implantation strategies for targeted pregnancy interception.

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