Stem Cell Research & Therapy
There is unmet need for effective therapies of intrauterine adhesions (IUAs) that are common cause of menstrual disturbance and infertility, since current clinical procedures do not improve prognosis for patients with moderate to severe IUA, with a recurrence rate of 23-50%. Stem cell-based therapy has emerged as a therapeutic option with unsolved issues for IUA patients in the past few years. Primary endometrial epithelial cells for cell therapy are largely hampered with the extremely limited proliferation capacity of uterine epithelial cells. This study was to evaluate whether IUA is curable with conditionally reprogrammed (CR) endometrial epithelial cells.Mouse endometrial epithelial cells (MEECs) were isolated from C57BL female mice, and long-term cultures of MEECs were established and maintained with conditional reprogramming (CR) method. DNA damage response analysis, soft agar assay, and matrigel 3D culture were carried out to determine the normal biological characteristics of CR-MEECs. The tissue-specific differentiation potential of MEECs was analyzed with air-liquid interface (ALI) 3D culture, hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining, Masson’s trichrome and DAB staining, immunofluorescence assay. IUA mice were constructed and transplanted with CR-MEECs. Repair and mechanisms of MEECs transplantation in IUA mice were measured with qRT-PCR, Masson’s trichrome, and DAB staining.We first successfully established long-term cultures of MEECs using CR approach. CR-MEECs maintained a rapid and stable proliferation in this co-culture system. Our data confirmed that CR-MEECs retained normal biological characteristics and endometrium tissue-specific differentiation potential. CR-MEECs also expressed estrogen and progesterone receptors and maintained the exquisite sensitivity to sex hormones in vitro. Most importantly, allogeneic transplantation of CR-MEECs successfully repaired the injured endometrium and significantly improved the pregnancy rate of IUA mice.Conditionally reprogrammed physiological endometrial epithelial cells provide a novel strategy in IUA clinics in a personalized or generalized manner and also serve as a physiological model to explore biology of endometrial epithelial cells and mechanisms of IUA.