Uterine secretomics A window on the maternal embryo interface

The analysis of endometrial secretions is increasing our understanding of early embryo-endometrial signaling and the role of secretions in early nutrition and programming of the embryo.

Ying Cheong, M.D., Carolien Boomsma, Ph.D., Cobi Heijnen, Ph.D., Nick Macklon, Ph.D.

Volume 99, Issue 4, Pages 1093-1099, 15 March 2013


The analysis of endometrial secretions offers a window on human peri-implantation events which have hitherto been difficult to study non-invasively. Uterine secretomic analysis provides a sensitive means of interrogating the content of secretions, and has been shown to play key roles in determining endometrial receptivity, embryo-endometrial signalling, and in providing a nourishing environment to the pre-implantation embryo. Compared with other means of assessing the endometrium with genomics or proteomics, secretomics offers a non- disruptive approach, allowing analysis in conception cycles. It also provides information on the downstream molecular profile directly encountered by the embryo, offering an integrated review of the complete endometrial surface rather than information representative of discrete biopsy site only. In this article, recent data derived from uterine secretomics is reviewed. In addition to in-vivo studies, recent data from in-vitro studies which are changing our understanding of the role of the endometrium in embryo selection are reviewed. Finally, the role of uterine secretions in nutrition and early development programming of the embryo is considered.

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