Researchers Identify Protein Essential For Embryo Implantation

A new National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded study has identified a key step in the establishment of a healthy...
A new National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded study has identified a key step in the establishment of a healthy pregnancy. The researchers have discovered that the hormone progesterone actually suppresses the growth of the uterus’s lining so that a fertilized egg can implant in the uterus. According to the study, the above happens when a protein called Hand2 suppresses the chemical activity that stimulates growth of the uterine lining, also known as the uterine epithelium. Basically when you get your period, estrogen levels rise. Estrogen then stimulates the cells in the uterine lining, which in turn causes the epithelium to thicken. Then as the ovary releases an egg, progesterone levels begin to rise. Progesterone increases cause estrogen-driven growth of the uterine epithelium to slow down. Hand2, according to the researchers, "Is the switch that turns off estrogen’s stimulating effect on the epithelium." What this study means to you: Dr. Milan Bagchi, one of the researchers on this study, notes, "This information helps us understand how the interplay of hormones prepares the uterus to host and support the embryo as it grows.” The finding of this study may help researchers understanding cases of unexplained female infertility. The findings also may help researchers understand disorders such as endometrial cancer and endometriosis

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