Three-dimensional (3D) in vitro models have been established to study the physiology and pathophysiology of the endometrium. With emerging evidence that the native extracellular matrix (ECM) provides appropriate cues and growth factors essential for tissue homeostasis, we describe, a novel 3D endometrium in vitro model developed from decellularized human endometrial tissue repopulated with primary endometrial cells. Analysis of the decellularized endometrium using mass spectrometry revealed an enrichment of cell adhesion molecules, cytoskeletal proteins, and ECM proteins such as collagen IV and laminin. Primary endometrial cells within the recellularized scaffolds proliferated and remained viable for an extended period of time in vitro. In order to evaluate the hormonal response of cells within the scaffolds, the recellularized scaffolds were treated with a modified 28-day hormone regimen to mimic the human menstrual cycle. At the end of 28 days, the cells within the endometrial scaffold expressed both estrogen and progesterone receptors. In addition, decidualization markers, IGFBP-1 and prolactin, were secreted upon addition of dibutyryl cyclic AMP indicative of a decidualization response. This 3D model of the endometrium provides a new experimental tool to study endometrial biology and drug testing.
Keywords: ECM; decellularization; endometrium; primary cells; recellularization.
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