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Mol Hum Reprod. 2010 Mar;16(3):135-52. doi: 10.1093/molehr/gap095. Epub 2009 Oct 30.

Novel pathways for implantation and establishment and maintenance of pregnancy in mammals.

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Departments of Animal Science, Texas A&M Health Sciences Center, College Station, TX 77843, USA.


Uterine receptivity to implantation varies among species, and involves changes in expression of genes that are coordinate with attachment of trophectoderm to uterine lumenal and superficial glandular epithelia, modification of phenotype of uterine stromal cells, silencing of receptors for progesterone and estrogen, suppression of genes for immune recognition, alterations in membrane permeability to enhance conceptus-maternal exchange of factors, angiogenesis and vasculogenesis, increased vascularity of the endometrium, activation of genes for transport of nutrients into the uterine lumen, and enhanced signaling for pregnancy recognition. Differential expression of genes by uterine epithelial and stromal cells in response to progesterone, glucocorticoids, prostaglandins and interferons may influence uterine receptivity to implantation in mammals. Uterine receptivity to implantation is progesterone-dependent; however, implantation is preceded by loss of expression of receptors for progesterone (PGR) so that progesterone most likely acts via PGR-positive stromal cells throughout pregnancy. Endogenous retroviruses expressed by the uterus and/or blastocyst also affect implantation and placentation in various species. Understanding the roles of the variety of hormones, growth factors and endogenous retroviral proteins in uterine receptivity for implantation is essential to enhancing reproductive health and fertility in humans and domestic animals.

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