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Mol Hum Reprod. 2007 Sep;13(9):641-54. Epub 2007 Jun 21.

Mifepristone induced progesterone withdrawal reveals novel regulatory pathways in human endometrium.

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Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.


In women, a single dose of the antiprogestin mifepristone (RU486) in the secretory phase rapidly renders the endometrium unreceptive and is followed by endometrial breakdown and menstruation within 72 h. This model provides a system to identify progesterone-regulated genes, which may be involved in endometrial receptivity and the induction of menstruation. We used cDNA microarrays to monitor the response of the endometriuim over 24 h following administration of mifepristone in the mid-secretory phase. We identified 571 transcripts whose expression was significantly altered, representing 131 biochemical pathways. These include new progesterone regulated members of the Wnt, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP), prostaglandin (PG) and chemokine regulatory pathways. Transcripts involved in thyroid hormone metabolism and signalling such as type II iodothyronine deiodinase and thyroid receptors were also found to be highly regulated by progesterone antagonism in the endometrium. Transcripts required for thyroid hormone synthesis such as thyroid peroxidase (TPO) and thyroglobulin (TG) were also expressed, indicating that the endometrium may be a site of thyroxin production. These results add to the existing knowledge of the role of the Wnt, chemokine, MMP and PG pathways in receptivity and early menstrual events. They provide in vivo evidence supporting direct or indirect regulation of many new transcripts by progesterone. We have also identified for the first time the very early transcriptional changes in vivo in response to progesterone withdrawal. This greatly increases our understanding of the pathways leading to menstruation and may provide new approaches to diagnose and treat menstrual disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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