Tissue interactions and estrogenic response during human female fetal reproductive tract development.
The role of tissue interactions was explored to determine whether epithelial differentiation within the developing human reproductive tract is induced and specified by mesenchyme in tissue recombinants composed of mouse vaginal mesenchyme + human uterine tubal epithelium (mVgM+hTubE). The tissue recombinants were grown in DES-treated ovariectomized athymic mice. After 2-4 weeks of in vivo growth, several vaginal specific features were expressed in the human tubal epithelium. The mesenchyme-induced effects included morphological change as well as expression of several immunohistochemical markers. Although the mesenchyme-induced shift in vaginal differentiation in the human tubal epithelium was not complete, the partial induction of vaginal markers in human tubal epithelium verifies the importance of mesenchymal-epithelial interactions in development of the human female reproductive tract. In a separate experiment, DES-induction of uterine epithelial progesterone receptor (PGR) and estrogen receptor 1 (ESR1) was explored in tissue recombinants composed of wild-type or Esr1KO mouse uterine mesenchyme + human fetal uterine epithelium (wt UtM+hUtE and Esr1KO UtM+hUtE). The rationale of this experiment was to determine whether DES-induction of PGR and ESR1 is mediated directly via epithelial ESR1 or indirectly (paracrine mechanism) via mesenchymal ESR1. DES-induction of uterine epithelial ESR1 and PGR in Esr1KO UtM+hUtE tissue recombinants (devoid of mesenchymal ESR1) formally eliminates the paracrine mechanism and demonstrates that DES induction of human uterine epithelial ESR1 and PGR is directly mediated via epithelial ESR1.
Cunha, GR; Kurita, T; Cao, M; Shen, J; Cooke, PS; Robboy, SJ; Baskin, LS
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