Role of progesterone in nonhuman primate implantation

Ov Daniel Slayden, Christopher S. Keator

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Herein we review the morphological and physiological effects of estradiol and progesterone (P) on the nonhuman primate uterus. Progesterone action acts to prepare the endometrium for embryo implantation, which normally occurs only during a brief period in the mid-luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. During this window of implantation, P stimulates secretory morphological differentiation and suppresses estrogen receptor α (ERα), in the endometrial functionalis zone. Reduced endometrial ERα is a definitive physiological marker for the onset of endometrial receptivity in primates. These actions of P are specific for the functionalis zones, and P does not fully inhibit ERα in the glands of basalis zone of nonhuman primates. Paradoxically, during the secretory phase of the cycle, progesterone receptor (PR) is also reduced in the glandular epithelium of the progestin-responsive functionalis zone. Therefore, P action on the epithelium in the functionalis zone may be mediated by paracrine factors arising from the PR-positive cells in the stroma. Genomic analysis of the endometrium of women and nonhuman primates has revealed numerous secretory phase genes that may contribute to differentiation of the endometrium. However, the exact nature and function of these putative factors have been elusive. We propose that nonhuman primates, especially macaques, can provide a valuable animal model for experimentally testing the functional role of P-regulated genes on endometrial receptivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-430
Number of pages13
JournalSeminars in Reproductive Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Endometrium
  • Macaque
  • Progesterone
  • Secretory differentiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Physiology (medical)


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