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Volume 11 (2011), Pages 1762-1769
Research Article

mRNA-Expression of ERα, ERβ, and PR in Clonal Stem Cell Cultures Obtained from Human Endometrial Biopsies

Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University of Münster, Medical Center, 48149 Münster, Germany

Received 9 August 2011; Accepted 5 September 2011

Academic Editor: George Yip

Copyright © 2011 A. N. Schüring et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Proliferation and differentiation of the endometrium are regulated by estrogen and progesterone. The enormous regenerative capacity of the endometrium is thought to be based on the activity of adult stem cells. However, information on endocrine regulatory mechanisms in human endometrial stem cells is scarce. In the present study, we investigated the expression of ERα, ERβ, and PR in clonal cultures of human endometrial stem cells derived from transcervical biopsies. Methods. Endometrial tissue of 11 patients was obtained by transcervical biopsy. Stromal cell suspensions were plated at clonal density and incubated for 15 days. Expression of ERα, ERβ and PR was determined by qPCR prior to and after one cloning round, and normalized to 18 S rRNA expression. Results. Expression of ERα and ERβ was downregulated by 64% and 89%, respectively ( 𝑃 = 0 . 0 0 2 and 𝑃 < 0 . 0 0 1 ). In contrast, PR was not significantly downregulated, due to a more heterogenous expression pattern. Conclusions. Culture of human endometrial stroma cells results in a downregulation of ERα and ERβ, while expression of PR remained unchanged in our patient collective. These results support the hypothesis that stem cells may not be subject to direct stimulation by sex steroids, but rather by paracrine mechanisms within the stem cell niche.