Endocrine regulation of menstruation

Henry N Jabbour, Rodney W Kelly, Hamish M Fraser, Hilary O D Critchley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In women, endometrial morphology and function undergo characteristic changes every menstrual cycle. These changes are crucial for perpetuation of the species and are orchestrated to prepare the endometrium for implantation of a conceptus. In the absence of pregnancy, the human endometrium is sloughed off at menstruation over a period of a few days. Tissue repair, growth, angiogenesis, differentiation, and receptivity ensue to prepare the endometrium for implantation in the next cycle. Ovarian sex steroids through interaction with different cognate nuclear receptors regulate the expression of a cascade of local factors within the endometrium that act in an autocrine/paracrine and even intracrine manner. Such interactions initiate complex events within the endometrium that are crucial for implantation and, in the absence thereof, normal menstruation. A clearer understanding of regulation of normal endometrial function will provide an insight into causes of menstrual dysfunction such as menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding) and dysmenorrhea (painful periods). The molecular pathways that precipitate these pathologies remain largely undefined. Future research efforts to provide greater insight into these pathways will lead to the development of novel drugs that would target identified aberrations in expression and/or of local uterine factors that are crucial for normal endometrial function.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-46
Number of pages30
JournalEndocrine Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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