The genomics of the human endometrium

Ruiz-Alonso M, Blesa D, Simon C,
Biochim Biophys Acta. Dec. 2012 doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2012.05.004


The endometrium is a complex tissue that lines the inside of the endometrial cavity. The gene expression of the different endometrial cell types is regulated by ovarian steroids and paracrine-secreted molecules from neighbouring cells. Due to this regulation, the endometrium goes through cyclic modifications which can be divided simply into the proliferative phase, the secretory phase and the menstrual phase. Successful embryo implantation depends on three factors: embryo quality, the endometrium's state of receptivity, and a synchronised dialogue between the maternal tissue and the blastocyst. There is a need to characterise the endometrium's state of receptivity in order to prevent reproductive failure. No single molecular or histological marker for this status has yet been found. Here, we review the global transcriptomic analyses performed in the last decade on a normal human endometrium. These studies provide us with a clue about what global gene expression can be expected for a non-pathological endometrium. These studies have shown endometrial phase-specific transcriptomic profiles and common temporal gene expression patterns. We summarise the biological processes and genes regulated in the different phases of natural cycles and present other works on different conditions as well as a receptivity diagnostic tool based on a specific gene set profile. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Molecular Genetics of Human Reproductive Failure.