Structure and function of cultured endometrial epithelial cells

Semin Reprod Endocrinol. 1999;17(1):93-106. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-1016215.


Uterine endometrial epithelial cells undergo profound changes in structure and function in preparation for blastocyst implantation. The dynamics of this process for human endometrium can be studied only in cell culture. Primary cell cultures started from tissue removed at varying times during the cycle retain some aspects of differentiation as manifest in regulated protein synthesis. Differentiation of endometrial, epithelial cell lines will occur when culture conditions are varied. Domes, gland-like structures, polarized sheets and spheroids can be produced. Studying the process of differentiation in vitro should provide information about differentiation in vivo, particularly about how changing protein synthesis accompanies changing cell structure. Endometrial epithelial cells in culture can also be manipulated to allow study of steroid agonism and antagonism, cancer, menses and regeneration and endometriosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Embryo Implantation
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / pathology
  • Endometrium / cytology*
  • Endometrium / physiology*
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menstrual Cycle
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured