This program area, directed by Dr. Koji Yoshinaga, supports basic research studies on uterine function involving molecular, cellular, tissue, and organ level approaches. Particularly important are studies to elucidate the mechanism of action of steroid, lipid, and protein hormones on the uterus, oviduct and vagina, and how these hormones interact to promote cycle-regulated changes in the morphology and function of these female reproductive tract organs.
Critical to this program are studies to elucidate the interactions between the implanting blastocyst and the uterus in the establishment of pregnancy. Processes important to the study of implantation include, but not limited to uterine receptivity, decidualization, trophoblast differentiation and function, neovascularization, tissue remodeling, and early events in the formation of the placenta. Of particular interest is the interplay of the immune and endocrine system families of hormones, growth factors, cytokines and their receptors in the processes of blastocyst implantation.
Studies on the causes of implantation-based infertility, subfecundity, and poor pregnancy outcome, including preeclampsia and frequent pregnancy failure, are clinically relevant aspects of this Program. An important component of this Program is the Interdisciplinary Collaborative Team on Blastocyst Implantation Research, comprised of funded investigators working on various aspects of implantation in a variety of animal models, cell lines, and human samples supported by NICHD and NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.