Late follicular phase administration of levonorgestrel as an emergency contraceptive changes the secretory pattern of glycodelin in serum and endometrium during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle

Contraception. 2005 Jun;71(6):451-7. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2005.01.003.


This study examined serum glycodelin concentrations and endometrial expression during the luteal phase following oral administration of levonorgestrel (LNG) at different stages of the ovarian cycle. Thirty women were recruited and allocated into three groups. All groups were studied during two consecutive cycles, a control cycle and the treatment cycle. In the treatment cycle, each woman received two doses of 0.75 mg LNG taken 12 h apart on days 3-4 before the luteinizing hormone (LH) surge (Group 1), at the time of LH rise (Group 2) and 48 h after the rise in LH was detected (Group 3). Serum progesterone (P) and glycodelin were measured daily during the luteal phase, and an endometrial biopsy was taken at day LH +9 for immunohistochemical glycodelin-A staining. In Group 1, serum P levels were significantly lower, serum glycodelin levels rose earlier and endometrial glycodelin-A expression was weaker than in Groups 2 and 3, in which no differences were found between control and treatment cycles. Levonorgestrel taken for emergency contraception (EC) prior to the LH surge alters the luteal phase secretory pattern of glycodelin in serum and endometrium. Based on the potent gamete adhesion inhibitory activity of glycodelin-A, the results may account for the action of LNG in EC in those women who take LNG before the LH surge.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female / administration & dosage
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female / blood
  • Contraceptives, Postcoital, Synthetic / administration & dosage
  • Endometrium / drug effects*
  • Endometrium / physiology
  • Female
  • Follicular Phase / drug effects*
  • Glycodelin
  • Glycoproteins / blood*
  • Humans
  • Levonorgestrel / administration & dosage*
  • Luteal Phase / drug effects*
  • Pregnancy Proteins / blood*
  • Progesterone / blood


  • Contraceptive Agents, Female
  • Contraceptives, Postcoital, Synthetic
  • Glycodelin
  • Glycoproteins
  • PAEP protein, human
  • Pregnancy Proteins
  • Progesterone
  • Levonorgestrel