Regenerating endometrium from stem/progenitor cells: is it abnormal in endometriosis, Asherman's syndrome and infertility?

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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Stem/progenitor cells are present in human and rodent endometrium and have a key role in endometrial regeneration in normal cycling and after parturition. We review emerging evidence of multiple types of endometrial stem/progenitor cells, and that abnormalities in their location and function may contribute to endometriosis. RECENT FINDINGS: Candidate human endometrial stem/progenitors have been identified as clonogenic, Side Population and possessing tissue reconstitution activity. Markers have been identified for human endometrial mesenchymal stem cells, showing their perivascular location in functionalis and basalis endometrium. Human embryonic stem cells can be induced to develop endometrial epithelium, recapitulating endometrial development. In rodent studies, endometrial stem/progenitor cells were identified as label-retaining cells and their role in endometrial repair and regeneration revealed, perhaps via mesenchymal to epithelial transition. Studies of Wnt signalling in the regulation of endometrial stem/progenitor cells may yield insights into their function in endometrial regeneration. Stem/progenitor cells can be isolated from endometrial biopsy or menstrual blood and may be used autologously to regenerate endometrium in Asherman s syndrome. SUMMARY: There is much to be learnt about endometrial stem/progenitor cell biology and their role in endometriosis. Endometrial stem/progenitor cells hold great promise for new treatments for infertility associated disorders, including thin dysfunctional endometrium and Asherman s syndrome.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193 - 200
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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