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J Assist Reprod Genet. 2013 Aug;30(8):1017-22. doi: 10.1007/s10815-013-0093-z.

A sequence of events in the uterus prior to implantation in the mouse.

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Fertility and Infertility Branch, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, DHHS, Bldg. 6100, Rm. 8B01, NIH, Bethesda, MD, 20892-7510, USA,


I reviewed a series of events in the mouse uterus before implantation on Day 4 of pregnancy (the sperm positive day is counted as Day 1). Major events are spacing of embryos along the uterine horns, shedding of the zona pellucida, and closure of the uterine lumen. How subtle they may be, there appear to exist interactions between intrauterine blastocysts and the uterus which is regulated by ovarian steroids. Spacing of embryos along the uterine horn is not random, but they are rather evenly distributed along the entire horn. The mechanism of even distribution of embryos needs clarification, although studies indicate that adrenergic nerve activity, prostaglandins, and other molecules appear to be involved. Shedding of the zona pellucida involves trypsin-like proteinase lysis of the zona. Through the opening created by zona lysis, blastocyst gets out of the zona by repeating expansion-collapse movements. Closure of rat uterine lumen is reported to be the result of absorption of uterine fluid through uterine glands. This needs to be confirmed in other species of rodents. Since these events influence blastocyst implantation, we need more detailed information on their regulatory mechanisms in order to improve the rate of healthy implantation of transferred embryo.

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