Potential roles for endometrial inhibins, activins and follistatin during human embryo implantation and early pregnancy

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The human endometrium is a remarkably dynamic tissue, undergoing cycles of proliferation, differentiation and breakdown every 28 days. In preparation for embryo implantation, the endometrium differentiates or decidualizes, involving widespread morphological and functional differentiation of endometrial stromal cells. If pregnancy occurs, the decidua regulates trophoblast invasion and forms the maternal component of the placenta. Uterine remodeling has long been known to be regulated by the ovarian steroid hormones 17β-estradiol and progesterone; however, only recently has the importance of paracrine factors in mediating the cellular and biochemical changes been recognized. Many growth factors and cytokines, such as inhibins and activins, whose expression is generally limited to developmental and pathological states, are produced by actively remodeling endometrial cells, and play crucial roles in regulating endometrial cell function. Here we present evidence for integral roles for the inhibin and activin family in the paracrine regulation of endometrial receptivity, decidualization and implantation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-150
Number of pages7
JournalTrends in Endocrinology & Metabolism
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2002
Externally publishedYes

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