Novel microarchitecture of human endometrial glands: implications in endometrial regeneration and pathologies

Tempest, Nicola ORCID: 0000-0003-3633-1592, Hill, Christopher J ORCID: 0000-0003-3831-4569, Maclean, Alison, Marston, Kathleen, Powell, Simon G ORCID: 0000-0002-5553-5286, Al-Lamee, Hannan and Hapangama, Dharani K ORCID: 0000-0003-0270-0150
(2022) Novel microarchitecture of human endometrial glands: implications in endometrial regeneration and pathologies. HUMAN REPRODUCTION UPDATE, 28 (2). pp. 153-171.

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<h4>Background</h4>Human endometrium remains a poorly understood tissue of the female reproductive tract. The superficial endometrial functionalis, the site of embryo implantation, is repeatedly shed with menstruation, and the stem cell-rich deeper basalis is postulated to be responsible for the regeneration of the functionalis. Two recent manuscripts have demonstrated the 3D architecture of endometrial glands. These manuscripts have challenged and replaced the prevailing concept that these glands end in blind pouches in the basalis layer that contain stem cells in crypts, as in the intestinal mucosa, providing a new paradigm for endometrial glandular anatomy. This necessitates re-evaluation of the available evidence on human endometrial regeneration in both health and disease in the context of this previously unknown endometrial glandular arrangement.<h4>Objective and rationale</h4>The aim of this review is to determine if the recently discovered glandular arrangement provides plausible explanations for previously unanswered questions related to human endometrial biology. Specifically, it will focus on re-appraising the theories related to endometrial regeneration, location of stem/progenitor cells and endometrial pathologies in the context of this recently unravelled endometrial glandular organization.<h4>Search methods</h4>An extensive literature search was conducted from inception to April 2021 using multiple databases, including PubMed/Web of Science/EMBASE/Scopus, to select studies using keywords applied to endometrial glandular anatomy and regeneration, and the references included in selected publications were also screened. All relevant publications were included.<h4>Outcomes</h4>The human endometrial glands have a unique and complex architecture; branched basalis glands proceed in a horizontal course adjacent to the myometrium, as opposed to the non-branching, vertically coiled functionalis glands, which run parallel to each other as is observed in intestinal crypts. This complex network of mycelium-like, interconnected basalis glands is demonstrated to contain endometrial epithelial stem cells giving rise to single, non-branching functionalis glands. Several previous studies that have tried to confirm the existence of epithelial stem cells have used methodologies that prevent sampling of the stem cell-rich basalis. More recent findings have provided insight into the efficient regeneration of the human endometrium, which is preferentially evolved in humans and menstruating upper-order primates.<h4>Wider implications</h4>The unique physiological organization of the human endometrial glandular element, its relevance to stem cell activity and scarless endometrial regeneration will inform reproductive biologists and clinicians to direct their future research to determine disease-specific alterations in glandular anatomy in a variety of endometrial pathological conditions.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: endometrium, 3D microarchitecture, regeneration, endometriosis, adenomyosis, endometrial stem progenitor cells, endometrial polyps, placenta accreta spectrum, fertility
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Clinical Directorate
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Life Courses and Medical Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 05 May 2022 14:06
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 21:04
DOI: 10.1093/humupd/dmab039
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