Fertile ground: Human endometrial programming and lessons in health and disease

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The human endometrium is a highly dynamic tissue that is cyclically shed, repaired, regenerated and remodelled, primarily under the orchestration of oestrogen and progesterone, in preparation for embryo implantation. Humans are among the very few species that menstruate and that, consequently, are equipped with unique cellular and molecular mechanisms controlling these cyclic processes. Many reproductive pathologies are specific to menstruating species, and studies in animal models rarely translate to humans. Abnormal remodelling and regeneration of the human endometrium leads to a range of reproductive complications. Furthermore, the processes regulating endometrial remodelling and implantation, including those controlling hormonal impact, breakdown and repair, stem/progenitor cell activation, inflammation and cell invasion have broad applications to other fields. This Review presents current knowledge regarding the normal and abnormal function of the human endometrium. The development of biomarkers for prediction of uterine diseases and pregnancy disorders and future avenues of investigation to improve fertility and enhance endometrial function are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)654-667
Number of pages14
JournalNature Reviews Endocrinology
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016


  • endocrine reproductive disorders
  • Translational research

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