Intrauterine botulinum toxin A administration promotes endometrial regeneration mediated by IGFBP3-dependent OPN proteolytic cleavage in thin endometrium

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2023 Jan 5;80(1):26. doi: 10.1007/s00018-022-04684-6.


Adequate endometrial growth is a critical factor for successful embryo implantation and pregnancy maintenance. We previously reported the efficacy of intrauterine administration of botulinum toxin A (BoTA) in improving the endometrial angiogenesis and the rates of embryo implantation. Here, we further evaluated its potent therapeutic effects on the uterine structural and functional repair and elucidated underlying molecular regulatory mechanisms. This study demonstrated that a murine model of thin endometrium was successfully established by displaying dramatically decreased endometrial thickness and the rates of embryo implantation compared to normal endometrium. Interestingly, the expressions of insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 (IGFBP3) and an active 35 kDa-form of osteopontin (OPN) were significantly reduced in thin endometrium, which were almost fully restored by intrauterine BoTA administration. Neutralization of BoTA-induced IGFBP3 subsequently suppressed proteolytic cleavage of OPN, exhibiting un-recovered endometrial thickness even in the presence of BoTA administration, suggesting that BoTA-induced endometrial regeneration might be mediated by IGFBP3-dependent OPN proteolytic cleavage. Our findings suggest that intrauterine BoTA administration improves the endometrial environment in our murine model with thin endometrium by increasing endometrial receptivity and angiogenesis in a manner dependent on the regulatory effect of IGFBP3 on OPN proteolytic cleavage, proposing BoTA as an efficient therapeutic strategy for the patients with thin endometrium.

Keywords: Botulinum toxin A; Endometrial regeneration; Insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3; Osteopontin; Thin endometrium.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A* / pharmacology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Embryo Implantation
  • Endometrium*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3* / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Osteopontin* / metabolism
  • Osteopontin* / pharmacology
  • Pregnancy


  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3
  • Osteopontin