The functional endometrial layer receives the implanting blastocyst, but is sloughed off during menstruation. Angiogenesis regulates growth and repair of cycling human endometrium. While vascular endothelial growth factor initiates angiogenesis, the angiopoietins (Angs) acting via the Tie2 receptor, are key regulators of subsequent angiogenic steps. This study is the first to localize Ang-2 and Tie2 in human endometrium and to study Ang-2 regulation in cultured human endometrial endothelial cells (HEECs). Immunohistochemistry revealed that expression of Ang-2 and Tie2 was absent from the glands, low in stromal cells, and intense in the endothelial cells. In contrast, only weak expression of Ang-1 was detected. The phase of the menstrual cycle did not appear to affect the expression of Ang-2 or Tie2. In vitro studies were carried out utilizing isolated HEECs, the most relevant model for endometrial microvascular biology studies. Both hypoxia and phorbol-myristate-acetate enhanced Ang-2 mRNA levels in HEECs. These results suggest that Ang-2 plays a role in endometrial pathologies complicated by impaired blood flow and inflammation.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.