Background: In this prospective randomized blinded clinical trial, we examined gene expression profiles of the human endometrium during the early and mid-luteal phases of the natural cycle.
Methods: An endometrial biopsy was performed on day 16 (LH +3) or on day 21 (LH +8), followed by RNA extraction and microarray analysis using an Affymetrix HG-U95A microchip. Data analysis was carried out using pairwise multiple group comparison with the significance analysis of microarrays (SAM) software.
Results: With a false discovery rate of 0, the analysis revealed that 107 genes were significantly and differently expressed (> or =2-fold) during the early versus the mid-luteal phase of the cycle. Forty-five of these genes have not been previously linked to endometrial receptivity. Validation of the microarray data was accomplished using semiquantitative RT-PCR. We demonstrated the presence of estrogen and progesterone response elements (ERE and PRE) by analysis of the 5'-flanking regions of a subset of differentially regulated genes.
Conclusions: Using a strict bioinformatics approach of microarray data, we demonstrated significant changes in candidate genes during the transition of the early to the mid-luteal phase of the human endometrium that may have functional significance for the opening and maintenance of the window of implantation.