Endometrial Liquid Biopsy Provides a miRNA Roadmap of the Secretory Phase of the Human Endometrium

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2020 Mar 1;105(3):dgz146. doi: 10.1210/clinem/dgz146.


Context: Endometrial liquid biopsy (ELB) is a minimally invasive alternative for research and diagnosis in endometrial biology.

Objective: We sought to establish an endometrial micro ribonucleic acid (miRNA) roadmap based on ELB during the secretory phase of the menstrual cycle in both natural and hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) cycles.

Design: Human ELB samples (n = 58) were obtained from healthy ovum donors undergoing a natural and an HRT cycle consecutively. miRNA profiles were identified using next-generation sequencing (NGS). For functional analysis, messenger ribonucleic acid targets were chosen among those reported in the endometrial receptivity analysis.

Results: The human endometrial secretory phase is characterized by a dynamic miRNA secretion pattern that varies from the prereceptive to the receptive stages. No differences in miRNA profiles were found among natural versus HRT cycles in the same women, reinforcing the similarities in functional and clinical outcomes in natural versus medicated cycles. Bioinformatic analysis revealed 62 validated interactions and 81 predicted interactions of miRNAs differentially expressed in the HRT cycle. Annotation of these genes linked them to 51 different pathways involved in endometrial receptivity.

Conclusion: This NGS-based study describes the miRNA signature in human ELB during the secretory phase of natural and HRT cycles. A consistent endometrial miRNA signature was observed in the acquisition of endometrial receptivity. Interestingly, no significant differences in miRNA expression were found in natural versus HRT cycles reinforcing the functional clinical similarities between both approaches.

Keywords: IVF treatment; endometrial fluid; endometrial receptivity; miRNAs.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Computational Biology
  • Embryo Implantation / physiology*
  • Endometrium / drug effects
  • Endometrium / metabolism*
  • Estradiol / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy / methods
  • Humans
  • Liquid Biopsy / methods
  • Menstrual Cycle / drug effects
  • Menstrual Cycle / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / isolation & purification
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Progesterone / administration & dosage
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • Reproductive Medicine / methods
  • Transcriptome / physiology
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Progesterone
  • Estradiol