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Matrix metalloproteinases and their tissue inhibitors in endometrial remodelling and menstruation

  • Lois A Salamonsen (a1) and David E Woolley (a2)


The architecture of the human endometrium is extensively remodelled during the course of each normal menstrual cycle, unlike most other tissues and organs which undergo very little change during adult life. During menstruation, when loss of most of the functionalis layer occurs, there is concomitant epithelial regrowth; repair of the luminal surface is complete almost as bleeding ceases. During the proliferative phase of the cycle and under the influence of rising oestrogen levels, the stromal cells, glands and blood vessels undergo rapid proliferation which results in tissue thickening. Following ovulation (around day 14 of the idealized 28-day cycle), the secretory phase of the cycle is characterized by increasing tortuosity of the spiral arterioles and glands and increased glandular secretory activity. After about day 22, decidualization of many of the stromal fibroblasts also occurs, the resultant decidual cells having many characteristics typical of epithelial cells. Periods of tissue oedema are apparent both in mid-proliferative (days 8–11) and mid-secretory (days 20–23) endometrium. Late in the cycle, there is regression of the tissue as menstruation is initiated.


Corresponding author

Prince Henry's Institute of Medical Research, PO Box 5152, Clayton, Victoria 3186, Australia.


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Matrix metalloproteinases and their tissue inhibitors in endometrial remodelling and menstruation

  • Lois A Salamonsen (a1) and David E Woolley (a2)


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