Distinct follicular and luteal transcriptional profiles in engineered human ectocervical tissue dependent on menstrual cycle phase

Biol Reprod. 2020 Aug 21;103(3):487-496. doi: 10.1093/biolre/ioaa056.


To investigate genomic pathways that may influence physiology and infectivity during the menstrual cycle, RNA sequence analysis was performed on patient-matched engineered ectocervical tissue after follicular and luteal phase (LP) hormone treatments. We developed distinct cellular, molecular, and biological profiles in ectocervical epithelium dependent on the menstrual cycle phase. Follicular phase hormones were associated with proliferation, transcription, and cell adhesion, while LP samples expressed genes involved in immune cell recruitment, inflammation, and protein modifications. Additionally, our analysis revealed mucins not previously reported in ectocervical tissue, which could play an important role in fertility and disease prevention. This study provides insight into the phenomenon of increased LP vulnerability to infection and identifies potential targets for future research.

Keywords: 3D model; differentiation; ectocervix; female reproductive tract; hormone action; mucins.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cervix Uteri / cytology
  • Cervix Uteri / metabolism*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Female
  • Follicular Phase / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Hormones / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Luteal Phase / physiology*
  • Menstrual Cycle / physiology*
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Mucins / physiology
  • Tissue Engineering*


  • Hormones
  • Mucins