Spatial transcriptomic profiles of mouse uterine microenvironments at pregnancy day 7.5†

Biol Reprod. 2022 Aug 9;107(2):529-545. doi: 10.1093/biolre/ioac061.


Uterine dysfunctions lead to fertility disorders and pregnancy complications. Normal uterine functions at pregnancy depend on crosstalk among multiple cell types in uterine microenvironments. Here, we performed the spatial transcriptomics and single-cell RNA-seq assays to determine local gene expression profiles at the embryo implantation site of the mouse uterus on pregnancy day 7.5 (D7.5). The spatial transcriptomic annotation identified 11 domains of distinct gene signatures, including a mesometrial myometrium, an anti-mesometrial myometrium, a mesometrial decidua enriched with natural killer cells, a vascular sinus zone for maternal vessel remodeling, a fetal-maternal interface, a primary decidual zone, a transition decidual zone, a secondary decidual zone, undifferentiated stroma, uterine glands, and the embryo. The scRNA-Seq identified 12 types of cells in the D7.5 uterus including three types of stromal fibroblasts with differentiated and undifferentiated markers, one cluster of epithelium including luminal and glandular epithelium, mesothelium, endothelia, pericytes, myelomonocytic cell, natural killer cells, and lymphocyte B. These single-cell RNA signatures were then utilized to deconvolute the cell-type compositions of each individual uterine microenvironment. Functional annotation assays on spatial transcriptomic data revealed uterine microenvironments with distinguished metabolic preferences, immune responses, and various cellular behaviors that are regulated by region-specific endocrine and paracrine signals. Global interactome among regions is also projected based on the spatial transcriptomic data. This study provides high-resolution transcriptome profiles with locality information at the embryo implantation site to facilitate further investigations on molecular mechanisms for normal pregnancy progression.

Keywords: decidua; microenvironment; postimplantation; scRNA-Seq; spatial transcriptomics; uterus.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Decidua / physiology
  • Embryo Implantation / genetics
  • Epithelium
  • Female
  • Killer Cells, Natural
  • Mice
  • Myometrium
  • Pregnancy
  • Transcriptome*
  • Uterus* / metabolism