Progesterone function in human endometrium: clinical perspectives

Semin Reprod Med. 2010 Jan;28(1):5-16. doi: 10.1055/s-0029-1242988. Epub 2010 Jan 26.


Progesterone is essential for endometrial receptivity and successful establishment of pregnancy. Either an insufficient progesterone concentration or an insufficient response to progesterone, therefore can lead to infertility and pregnancy loss. Assessment of the role that either progesterone insufficiency or inadequate progesterone response plays in human reproductive failure has been difficult to assess because serum progesterone concentrations fluctuate markedly, limiting the ability to characterize sufficiency of progesterone, and there are no highly reliable markers of endometrial function available. Recent evidence demonstrates exquisite sensitivity of normal endometrium to very low levels of progesterone stimulation, suggesting that progesterone insufficiency should not be a common cause of reproductive failure. Further evidence suggests that women with endometriosis, and possibly polycystic ovarian syndrome, have an altered progesterone response, which may explain some of the clinical features of these disorders and supports the hypothesis that progesterone resistance underlies some cases of human reproductive failure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Endometriosis / genetics
  • Endometriosis / physiopathology*
  • Endometrium / drug effects
  • Endometrium / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / metabolism
  • Integrins / metabolism
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Progesterone / deficiency*
  • Progesterone / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Progesterone / deficiency*
  • Selectins / metabolism


  • Integrins
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Selectins
  • Progesterone