Physiological oestradiol and progesterone replacement cycles in women with ovarian failure: a model to study endometrial maturation and sex steroid receptor regulation by exogenous hormones

Hum Reprod. 1993 Nov;8(11):1828-34. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.humrep.a137942.


High endometrial receptivity has been achieved with physiological oestradiol and progesterone replacement cycles in women with ovarian failure. To understand whether different protocols using the oral route or the transdermal route can influence the endometrial maturation and the regulation of sex steroid receptors, we studied 33 women with ovarian failure treated by two commonly used protocols and assessed endometrial receptivity using light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and immunohistochemistry for oestrogen and progesterone receptors on biopsies taken to include different periods of the luteal phase. The morphology in these patients was similar to that observed in women with normal ovulatory cycles, indicating that the morphological response is not dependent on the type of oestradiol, oral or transdermal, in the replacement cycles as compared to the endogenous oestradiol in the menstrual cycle. The relative distribution of steroid receptors between the epithelium and stroma varies similarly to that observed during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. These results confirm the role of progesterone, especially the importance of the number of days of exposure to it, in the disappearance of steroid receptors from endometrial glands. These observations give a better understanding of endometrial receptivity around the time of presumed implantation and confirm clinical results concerning the best timing of oocyte transfer.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Endometrium / pathology
  • Endometrium / physiopathology*
  • Estradiol / administration & dosage
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Estradiol / therapeutic use*
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Ovarian Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Ovarian Diseases / pathology
  • Ovarian Diseases / physiopathology
  • Progesterone / administration & dosage
  • Progesterone / blood
  • Progesterone / therapeutic use*
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Progesterone / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Progesterone
  • Estradiol