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Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2007 Aug;19(4):377-83.

Endometrial stem cells.

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Centre for Women's Health Research, Monash Institute of Medical Research, Monash University Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Monash Medical Centre, Clayton, Australia.



The human endometrium is a dynamic tissue, which undergoes cycles of growth and regression with each menstrual cycle. Endometrial regeneration also follows parturition and extensive resection and occurs in postmenopausal women taking estrogen replacement therapy. It is likely that adult stem/progenitor cells are responsible for this remarkable regenerative capacity. This review discusses the first published evidence for the existence of endometrial stem/progenitor cells in human and mouse endometrium.


Functional approaches have been used to identify candidate endometrial epithelial and stromal stem/progenitor cells, due to lack of known specific endometrial stem cell markers. Rare clonogenic cells and side population cells have been identified in human endometrial cell populations. In mouse endometrium, rare label-retaining cells have also been identified. The ability of transplanted human endometrial cells to grow endometrial tissue in animal hosts also suggests the presence of stem/progenitor cells.


These initial studies providing the first functional evidence for epithelial and stromal stem/progenitor cells in human and mouse endometrium lay the groundwork for further studies to characterize their stem cell properties. They also provide the impetus to discover specific markers that will enable their prospective isolation and allow their location in normal and pathological endometrium to be determined.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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