Progesterone receptor subtype B is differentially regulated in human endometrial stroma

Mol Hum Reprod. 1998 Apr;4(4):407-12. doi: 10.1093/molehr/4.4.407.


Two anti-progesterone receptor (PgR) antibodies, a new one specific to PgRB, the other to PgR subtypes A + B, have been used to examine the cellular location of PgR subtypes A and B in normal endometrium throughout the menstrual cycle and in early human decidua by standard immunohistochemical techniques. PgR(A+B) is the receptor detected by the antibody recognizing both isoforms of the receptor. PgRB is the receptor detected by the new antibody specific to the B isoform. Since it is not possible to raise antibody specific to PgR subtype A, all immunohistochemical analysis of the PgRA subtype is by subtractive inference. Thus we refer to PgRA as the subtype responsible for positive immunoreactivity when the PgRB subtype cannot be specifically detected. Endometrial biopsies were collected from 40 women with regular menses (n = 5 each stage of cycle: menstrual; early, mid and late proliferative; ovulatory; early, mid, and late secretory). Decidual tissue was obtained from 10 women undergoing first trimester surgical termination of pregnancy. As previously reported, the PgR(A+B) antibody stained glandular and stromal nuclei during the proliferative phase but only stromal nuclei during the secretory phase and early pregnancy. The new PgRB antibody also stained both cell types intensely during the proliferative phase, but failed to stain either stromal or glandular nuclei strongly during the secretory phase and early pregnancy. We concluded that, while both PgR subtypes were present in glands and stroma in the proliferative phase, and both subtypes were dramatically reduced in the glands during the secretory phase, PgRA remained as the predominant type in the stroma during the secretory phase and early pregnancy. The profound effects of progesterone on endometrium during the secretory phase and early pregnancy appear to be mediated primarily by PgRA in the stroma.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Endometrium / chemistry
  • Endometrium / cytology
  • Endometrium / metabolism*
  • Epithelial Cells / chemistry
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Pregnancy
  • Receptors, Progesterone / immunology
  • Receptors, Progesterone / metabolism*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Stromal Cells / chemistry
  • Stromal Cells / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • progesterone receptor A
  • progesterone receptor B