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Adhesion and embryo implantation

Irmgard Classen-Linke, Volker Buck with Mahwish Iftikhar and Anna Sternberg

The research goals of the reproductive biology group is to unravel basic mechanisms of early human implantation. Using 2D and 3D cell culture systems including hydrogel technology, aspects of trophoblast-endometrial interaction are studied in detail by means of immunohistology, mechanobiological force measurements and live cell imaging. A further aim is to analyze the influence of steroid hormones. New insights into the crucial mechanisms of human implantation may help to improve the outcome of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) in the future.

Examination of endometrial receptivity and trophoblast invasion. From left to right: During implantation and early placentation uterine endometrial glands are invaded by embryo-derived extravillous trophoblast cells (EVT). Endometrial glands are isolated from endometrial biopsies as spheroids and tubules or are generated in vitro in soft matrices. Trophoblast cell invasion into endometrial spheroids is studied by microscopy in vitro. Immunofluorescence microscopy shows HLA-G-positive trophoblast cells invading an endometrial spheroid. (Microscopic images from Buck et al, 2015, Hum Reprod 30:906 and unpublished)