The basalis of the primate endometrium: a bifunctional germinal compartment

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology; Department of Physiology; Department of Cell Biology

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Document Type



Animals; *Cell Compartmentation; Endometrium; Estradiol; Female; Humans; *Luteal Phase; Macaca mulatta; Mitosis; Ovulation; Progesterone


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Radioautographic analysis of epithelial and stromal cell proliferation in the primate endometrial functionalis and basalis (rhesus monkey) has identified horizontal zonal patterns of mitotic activation and inhibition during natural menstrual cycles. At 1 h after a single i.v. injection of [3H]thymidine, mitotic activity in endometrial biopsies (hysterotomy) was determined on 9 days from the late proliferative to the late luteal phase (-2 days to + 14 days relative to the estrogen [E2]peak). Labeling indices (LIs) were determined within glandular segments of the 4 horizontal endometrial zones: Transient functionalis Zone I (luminal epithelium) and Zone II (uppermost gland); Germinal basalis: Zone III (middle gland) and Zone IV (basal gland). The size of the dividing epithelial populations (LI) differed zonally. During E2 dominance (-2 days to +3 days), the epithelial LIs of functionalis I (10 +/- 0.3%) and II (9.8 +/- 1.0%) were greater than those of basalis III (5.8 +/- 0.2%) and basalis IV (3.7 +/- 0.8%). During progesterone (P) dominance (+5 days to +14 days), epithelial mitosis was strongly inhibited in functionalis I (4.3 +/- 1.9%), functionalis II (0.8 +/- 0.2%), and basalis III (1.4 +/- 0.5%). Thus germinal basalis III was linked functionally with transient functionalis I and II by periovulatory uniformity in epithelial proliferation and postovulatory mitotic inhibition. A unique mitotic pattern set basalis IV apart from other zones by a steady rise in LI from 1% (-2 days) to 11% (+10 days). The LIs for stromal fibroblasts remained quite uniform in basalis IV but varied in other zones. Thus the postovulatory primate basalis was a distinct bipartite compartment in which the mitotic rate in basalis IV glandular epithelium increased steadily whereas that of basalis III was strongly inhibited. The remarkable enhancement of epithelial mitotic activity in basalis IV may reflect expansion of the stem-progenitor cell population for gestational growth or for post-menstrual regeneration.


Biol Reprod. 1989 Mar;40(3):681-90.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Biology of reproduction

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