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Hum Reprod. 1996 Oct;11 Suppl 2:150-64.

Non-human primate models; artificial menstrual cycles, endometrial matrix metalloproteinases and s.c. endometrial grafts.

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Reproductive Sciences, Oregon Regional Primate Research Center, Beaverton 97006, USA.


Rhesus monkeys are useful models in which to examine the hormonal regulation of endometrial matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) and to evaluate the role of MMP in uterine bleeding. Artificial 28 day menstrual cycles can be induced in ovariectomized monkeys by inserting an oestradiol implant for 2 weeks, then inserting a progesterone implant for 2 weeks, and then, with the oestradiol implant remaining in place, removing and reinserting the progesterone implant at 2 week intervals. To examine MMP during menses, we established such cycles and removed uteri by hysterectomy at closely spaced intervals before, during and after menses, as well as at later time points. Some samples were also obtained during menses induced by the withdrawal of both progesterone and oestradiol. We examined mRNA of the following MMP by Northern blotting: matrilysin, stromelysin-1, stromelysin-2, stromelysin-3 and the tissue inhibitor of MMP TIMP-1. The expression of these MMP mRNA increased substantially by 2-3 days after progesterone withdrawal, whether or not oestradiol was maintained. The expression of some of the MMP (stromelysins-1 and -2) returned very rapidly to baseline levels by 5 days after progesterone withdrawal, while the expression of others (matrilysin, stromelysin-3 and TIMP-1) declined more slowly, reaching a baseline level by 10 days after progesterone withdrawal, with little or no further decline after progesterone concentrations rose during the induced luteal phase. Immunocytochemical studies showed that matrilysin was expressed primarily in the glands of the upper functionalis. In other work with the rhesus monkey model, we used a s.c. endometrial autograft technique in which pieces of endometrium were autotransplanted to the abdominal skin. During menses in the grafts, matrilysin was expressed in the glands of the grafts similar to the glands in the eutopic endometrium. Endometrial autografts can serve as a useful model for the study of MMP in uterine bleeding.

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