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The presence and regulation of connective tissue growth factor in the human endometrium

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    Rights statement: © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.5), which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1112-21
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012


BACKGROUND The human endometrium efficiently repairs each month after menstruation. The mechanisms involved in this repair process remain undefined. Aberrations in endometrial repair may lead to the common disorder of heavy menstrual bleeding. We hypothesized that connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) is increased at the time of endometrial repair post-menses and that this increase is regulated by prostaglandins (PGs) and hypoxic conditions present during menstruation. METHODS AND RESULTS Examination of 41 endometrial biopsies from 5 stages of the menstrual cycle revealed maximal CTGF mRNA expression (using quantitative RT-PCR) at menstruation and peak protein levels during the proliferative phase. CTGF was immunolocalized to epithelial and stromal cells, with intense staining of occasional stromal cells during the proliferative phase. Dual immunohistochemistry identified these cells as macrophages. Treatment of endometrial epithelial cells with 100 nM PGE(2), PGF(2α) or hypoxia (0.5% O(2)) revealed a significant increase in CTGF mRNA expression (P <0.01 for all, versus vehicle control). Cells treated simultaneously with PGE(2) and hypoxia revealed a synergistic increase in CTGF expression (P <0.05 versus PGE(2) or hypoxia alone) and maximal secreted CTGF protein levels (P <0.05 versus control). CONCLUSIONS CTGF is increased in the human endometrium at the time of endometrial repair post-menses. The increase in CTGF may be mediated by PG production and the transient hypoxic episode observed in the endometrium at menstruation.

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