Background: Removal of the uterine luminal epithelium and its basement membrane is necessary for successful implantation of invasive blastocysts. Few reports, however, have specifically addressed the penetration and loss of the uterine luminal epithelial basement membrane (UEBM). We investigated the loss of UEBM by examining the distribution of laminin and type IV collagen. Methods: Blastocyst implantation sites were collected from mice on days 5,6, and 7 of pregnancy. Paraffin sections were prepared from these tissues and processed with standard immunoperoxidase techniques to reveal the distribution of laminin and type IV collagen. Results: On day 5 of pregnancy blastocysts were adherent to the uterine epithelium. The epithelium and UEBM were complete and uninterrupted. On day 6 the juxtaembryonic uterine epithelium was lost and focal discontinuities were seen along the UEBM. By 1200 hr the UEBM had receded to the region near the ectoplacental cone, but staining was reduced for both antigens over the entire region surrounded by decidual cells. This decreased staining of the UEBM occurred in areas not yet occupied by trophoblast cells. On day 7 the UEBM was lost over the entire embryonic half of the uterine lining, corresponding to the distribution of decidual cells. Conclusions: Progressive loss of the UEBM occurred in a consistent spatiotemporal pattern following the onset of blastocyst implantation. Diminished immunoreactivity of laminin and type IV collagen in the UEBM was closely correlated with the area occupied by decidualized endometrial stroma and occurred in areas not yet in contact with trophoblast cells. We conclude that decidual cells are instrumental in the removal of UEBM during early pregnancy. © 1995 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.
- Basement membrane
- Type IV collagen
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)