Progesterone has been shown to regulate a number of genes and gene networks in the primate endometrium. This action of progesterone is essential to provide an appropriate milieu for embryo-endometrial communication that can lead to implantation and the successful initiation of pregnancy. A temporal regulation of endometrial genes is most likely required to achieve an appropriate state of receptivity in the primate endometrium. Using simulated menstrual cycles in the rhesus monkey, endometrial tissue was harvested at days that encompass the expected window of receptivity (4–10 days after the estradiol surge) and subsequently converted to cycle day-specific cDNA populations. Using differential display reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, 12 cDNA fragments were isolated and sequenced whose mRNA levels were elevated during this time frame. The temporal expression patterns of these mRNAs were confirmed by semiquantitative polymerase chain reaction. Two of these fragments exhibited high homology to previously characterized human genes: 1) secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor, also known as antileukoprotease, an endometrial neutrophil elastase inhibitor with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties; and 2) syncytin, also known as endogenous retrovirus W envelope protein, a highly fusogenic membrane glycoprotein that induces formation of giant syncytia and is believed to be important in decidual and placental development. The temporal regulation of these genes by progesterone supports their likely role in the orchestration of molecular and cellular events that are required to achieve a state of receptivity in the primate endometrium.
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