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We have identified a network of metabolic events that help prepare the womb for pregnancy. Release of these metabolites from cells lining the womb may be key to solving the mystery of why some embryo’s implant while other’s do not.

Endometrial stromal cells transform into specialized decidual cells in preparation for pregnancy. The transformation, or decidualization, begins around the arteries (perivascular) to the outer stroma.

This study showed that the perivascular and endometrial stomal cells transform their surroundings through time-dependent secretions of small molecules called metabolites.

Here, liquid-chromatography-mass spectrometry was used to characterize and analyze time-dependent changes in metabolite secretion. Metabolites were released in a highly regulated manner upon decidualization with 79 metabolites being secreted at differential levels. Furthermore, 32 metabolites were differentially secreted between the perivascular and stromal cells, especially purines. These purine metabolites are important to cellular growth, energy production, and inflammation. This research highlights key metabolic timings for embryo implantation. With targeted treatment, this may reduce miscarriage rates, improve implantation success, and alleviate suffering for women struggling to conceive.

Sarah Harden, 3rd year student

You can view the paper here: