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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1997 Jun;82(6):1983-8.

Alterations in endometrial stromal cell tissue factor protein and messenger ribonucleic acid expression in patients experiencing abnormal uterine bleeding while using Norplant-2 contraception.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, New York University School of Medicine, New York 10016, USA.


A high incidence of irregular uterine bleeding is the primary patient complaint limiting the utility of long term, progestin-only contraceptive agents such as Norplant. The onset of hemorrhage requires both inadequate hemostasis and impaired vascular integrity. Thus, we first tested whether Norplant-associated endometrial bleeding was accompanied by altered expression of perivascular stromal cell tissue factor (TF), the primary initiator of hemostasis. Norplant effects on TF messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) and protein expression by endometrial stromal cells were assessed by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemical examination of endometrial biopsies obtained from normally cycling control women (n = 14) and from patients experiencing Norplant-induced abnormal uterine bleeding (n = 24). TF mRNA and protein expression was increased 150% in secretory vs. proliferative phase endometrial specimens. By contrast, endometrial TF mRNA and protein levels were reduced during 1-6 months of Norplant treatment by about 2-fold (P < 0.05 for protein) compared to the values for control secretory phase specimens. These changes were consistent with observations that patients on Norplant begin to bleed during this interval. Further reductions of TF mRNA and protein levels to 2- and 3-fold of those in secretory phase control specimens were observed in endometria obtained after 6-12 months of Norplant therapy (P < 0.05 and P < 0.01, respectively). A modest rebound in TF mRNA and protein expression was observed after 12 months of Norplant therapy, which occurred commensurate with reduced patient complaints of abnormal uterine bleeding. Pathologically enlarged venous sinusoids were ubiquitous in endometrial specimens obtained after Norplant therapy. The combination of fragile blood vessels and reduced TF expression may account for bleeding in patients receiving Norplant therapy.

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