Modulating the endometrial epithelial proteome and secretome in preparation for pregnancy: The role of ovarian steroid and pregnancy hormones

David W Greening, Hong Nguyen, Jemma Evans, Richard Simpson, Lois Adrienne Salamonsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Dialogue between an appropriately developed embryo and hormonally-primed endometrium is essential to achieve implantation and establish pregnancy. Importantly, the point-of-first-contact between the embryo and the maternal endometrium occurs at the endometrial luminal epithelium (LE). Implantation events occur within the uterine cavity microenvironment regulated by local factors. Defects in embryo-endometrial communication likely underlie unexplained infertility; enhanced knowledge of this communication, specifically at initial maternal-fetal contact may reveal targets to improve fertility. Using a human endometrial luminal-epithelial (LE) cell line (ECC1), this targeted proteomic study reveals unique protein changes in both cellular (98% unique identifications) and secreted (96% unique identifications) proteins in the transition to the progesterone-dominated secretory (receptive) phase and subsequently to pregnancy, mediated by embryo-derived human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This analysis identified 157 progesterone-regulated cellular proteins, with further 193 significantly altered in response to hCG. Cellular changes were associated with metabolism, basement membrane and cell connectivity, proliferation and differentiation. Secretome analysis identified 1059 proteins; 123 significantly altered by progesterone, and 43 proteins altered by hCG, including proteins associated with cellular adhesion, extracellular-matrix organization, developmental growth, growth factor regulation, and cell signaling. Collectively, our findings reveal dynamic intracellular and secreted protein changes in the endometrium that may modulate successful establishment of pregnancy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99 - 112
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Proteomics
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Embryo implantation
  • Secretome
  • Pregnancy
  • Endometrium
  • Proteomics
  • Uterine microenvironmen
  • Estrogen
  • Progesterone
  • hCG
  • Trophoblast
  • Blastocyst
  • Receptivity

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