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In vitro decidualization of rat endometrial stromal cells

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The induction of the decidualization of endometrial stromal cells is possible in an in vitro cell culture system. However, thus far, methods differ according to species or cell type, and a more stable or universal system has not yet been developed. The purpose of the present study has been to establish an in vitro decidualization system in primary cultured rat endometrial stromal cells (RES). The RES were treated with medroxyprogesterone acetate and dibutyryl-cyclic adenosine monophosphate (MPA treatment), estradiol and progesterone, or arachidonic acid. After 24 h of treatment, cells responded to all of the stimulations by expressing desmin mRNA. However, decidual/trophoblast prolactin-related protein (dPRP) mRNA was only expressed in the MPA-treated cells. Desmin and dPRP mRNA were not expressed after MPA treatment of the RES derived from immature rat uteri. However, mRNA from both desmin and dPRP were expressed in RES derived from gonadotrophin-injected immature rats. The expression of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) and MMP-9 mRNA did not change after the decidual treatment of RES examined by real-time polymerase chain reaction. However, the results of gelatin zymography showed that the active forms of MMP-2 and MMP-9 significantly increased after in vitro decidualization (P < 0.05). We conclude that MPA treatment is the most effective method for stimulating decidualization in RES. Use of this system has revealed that sexual maturation and gonadotrophins are important for RES with regard to decidualization. Furthermore, the activity of MMP-2 and MMP-9 might increase during decidualization without a corresponding increase of the expression of these genes.

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Correspondence to Nobuhiko Yamauchi.

Additional information

This research was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS; no. 18580282, to N. Yamauchi).

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Matsumoto, K., Yamauchi, N., Watanabe, R. et al. In vitro decidualization of rat endometrial stromal cells. Cell Tissue Res 335, 575–583 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00441-008-0734-1

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  • Decidualization
  • Endometrial stromal cells
  • Matrix metalloproteinase
  • In vitro
  • Rat (Wistar)