Mu opioid receptor in the human endometrium: Dynamics of its expression and localization during the menstrual cycle

Totorikaguena, L, Olabarrieta, E, Matorras, R, Alonso, E, Agirregoitia, E, Agirregoitia, N,
Fertil Steril. Apr. 2017 doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2017.01.020


OBJECTIVE: To study the dynamics of the expression and localization of the mu opioid receptor (MOR) in human endometrium throughout the menstrual cycle. DESIGN: Analysis of human endometrial samples from different menstrual cycle phases (menstrual, early/midproliferative, late proliferative/early secretory, midsecretory, and late secretory) by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, Western blot, and immunohistochemistry. SETTING: Academic research laboratory. PATIENT(S): Women from the Human Reproduction Unit of the Cruces University Hospital, fulfilling the following criteria: normal uterine vaginal ultrasound; absence of endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, implantation failure, or recurrent miscarriage; and no history of opioid drug use. INTERVENTION(S): Endometrial samples of 86 women categorized into groups for the menstrual cycle phases: 12 menstrual, 21 early/midproliferative, 16 late proliferative/early secretory, 17 midsecretory, and 20 late secretory. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): MOR gene and protein expression and localization in the different compartments of the human endometrium at different stages of the menstrual cycle. RESULT(S): The expression of MOR mRNA and protein changed throughout the cycle in human endometrium. MOR expression increased during the proliferative phase and decreased during the secretory one. Lower values were found at menstruation, and maximum values around the time of ovulation. Small variations for each endometrial compartment were found. CONCLUSION(S): The presence of MOR in human endometrium and the dynamic changes during the menstrual cycle suggest a possible role for opioids in reproduction events related to the human endometrium or endometriosis.