A research team at Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH) said it has developed a method to treat endometrial damage directly.
Endometrial damage occurs when the uterus is innately thin or when fibrosis progresses due to physical damage. Normal endometrium thickens during ovulation to help safe implantation. When damaged, however, the endometrium does not thicken sufficiently, making implantation difficult.
|Professor Ku Seung-yup|
Endometrial injuries are now treated by administering estrogens and progesterone that promote the thickening of the endometrium. However, hormonal treatments stop at recovering them, and the method is not effective for infertile patients that have a damaged endometrium.
To resolve this issue, the SNUH research team, led by Professor Ku Seung-yup, tested a mouse model with damaged endometrium. The team collected, cultured and functionalized endometrial cells of the mice collected beforehand, mixed it with hyaluronic acid, an agent known for its skin regeneration effect, and injected it into the damaged area. As a result, the injected cells proliferated in the endometrium and restored the thin uterus wall to normal levels, while also alleviating the fibrosis symptoms.
The team also successfully implanted the embryos into the recovered uterus of mice and confirmed that they grew intact.
"We believed that using uterine cells and proven hyaluronic acid would be a safe way to help patients with endometrial damage," Professor Ku said. "Comparatively simple procedures can be used to collect the patient's endometrial cells, which will help patients who are having difficulty with pregnancy because of repeated implantation failures."
The team plans to continue its research and is also conducting studies on primates. Depending on the results, the team will perform actual clinical treatments.
Acta Biomaterilia published the results of the research.
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