Endometrial apoptosis and neutrophil infiltration during menstruation exhibits spatial and temporal dynamics that are recapitulated in a mouse model.

Research paper by Gregory M GM Armstrong, Jacqueline A JA Maybin, Alison A AA Murray, Moira M Nicol, Catherine C Walker, Philippa T K PTK Saunders, Adriano G AG Rossi, Hilary O D HOD Critchley

Indexed on: 14 Dec '17Published on: 14 Dec '17Published in: Scientific Reports


Menstruation is characterised by synchronous shedding and restoration of tissue integrity. An in vivo model of menstruation is required to investigate mechanisms responsible for regulation of menstrual physiology and to investigate common pathologies such as heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB). We hypothesised that our mouse model of simulated menstruation would recapitulate the spatial and temporal changes in the inflammatory microenvironment of human menses. Three regulatory events were investigated: cell death (apoptosis), neutrophil influx and cytokine/chemokine expression. Well-characterised endometrial tissues from women were compared with uteri from a mouse model (tissue recovered 0, 4, 8, 24 and 48 h after removal of a progesterone-secreting pellet). Immunohistochemistry for cleaved caspase-3 (CC3) revealed significantly increased staining in human endometrium from late secretory and menstrual phases. In mice, CC3 was significantly increased at 8 and 24 h post-progesterone-withdrawal. Elastase+ human neutrophils were maximal during menstruation; Ly6G+ mouse neutrophils were maximal at 24 h. Human endometrial and mouse uterine cytokine/chemokine mRNA concentrations were significantly increased during menstrual phase and 24 h post-progesterone-withdrawal respectively. Data from dated human samples revealed time-dependent changes in endometrial apoptosis preceding neutrophil influx and cytokine/chemokine induction during active menstruation. These dynamic changes were recapitulated in the mouse model of menstruation, validating its use in menstrual research.