The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 58: 247 - 259 (2014)

Vol 58, Issue 2-3-4

Special Issue: Embryo Implantation

Adaptive mechanisms controlling uterine spiral artery remodeling during the establishment of pregnancy

Published: 10 July 2014

Michael J. Soares*, Damayanti Chakraborty, Kaiyu Kubota, Stephen J. Renaud and M.A. Karim Rumi

Institute for Reproductive Health and Regenerative Medicine, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas, USA


Implantation of the embryo into the uterus triggers the initiation of hemochorial placentation. The hemochorial placenta facilitates the acquisition of maternal resources required for embryo/fetal growth. Uterine spiral arteries form the nutrient supply line for the placenta and fetus. This vascular conduit undergoes gestation stage-specific remodeling directed by maternal natural killer cells and embryo-derived invasive trophoblast lineages. The placentation site, including remodeling of the uterine spiral arteries, is shaped by environmental challenges. In this review, we discuss the cellular participants controlling pregnancy-dependent uterine spiral artery remodeling and mechanisms responsible for their development and function.


hemochorial placentation, natural killer cell, trophoblast, PI3K/AKT, FOSL1, hypoxia, NOTCH, STOX1

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