Cyclic AMP and progesterone receptor cross-talk in human endometrium: a decidualizing affair


    During the menstrual cycle, the ovarian hormones oestradiol and progesterone control the ordered growth and differentiation of uterine cells. This remodelling process is critical for implantation of the developing embryo, the formation of the placenta, and maintenance of pregnancy. Failure of uterine tIssues to respond appropriately to ovarian hormone signalling results in defective placentation, associated with a spectrum of pregnancy disorders such as recurrent miscarriages and preeclampsia. These obstetrical disorders are a major cause of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality. Progesterone exerts its action on target cells, at least in part, through binding to the progesterone receptor (PR), a member of the steroid/thyroid hormone receptor superfamily of ligand-activated transcription factors. The mechanism by which progesterone controls the differentiation of human endometrial stromal cells, a process termed decidualization, in the secretory phase of the menstrual cycle is not well understood. Emerging evidence indicates that locally expressed factors and activation of the cAMP second messenger pathway integrate hormonal inputs and confer cellular specificity to progesterone action through the induction of diverse transcription factors capable of modulating PR function.

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