Scientific work of our group
The womb is lined with a 1 cm layer of tissue, the endometrium, which is shed every 4 weeks as part of menstrual bleeding. If a pregnancy occurs, the embryo implants into the endometrium around 5 days after ovulation and forms the placenta. This implantation phase is extremely sensitive and may be subject to various disorders leading to the embryo being rejected.
As an endometrial implantation disorder could be responsible for infertility and the limited success rate of IVF and ICSI treatments, our working group systematically investigates the function of the endometrium and its regulatory disorders using examination techniques from the fields of molecular biology and protein biochemistry.
Our examinations focus on the different stages of endometrial implantation:
- On the basis of tissue samples and cell cultures, the production and regulation of various endometrial factors, such as pro-inflammatory cytokines, are investigated which are likely to play a role in the endometrial preparation of implantation.
- Furthermore, adhesion proteins such as integrins, osteopontin, galectins etc. which regulate the first phase of implantation, the attachment of the embryo to the endometrium, are analysed.
- The interaction of the embryo with the mother's endometrium as implantation progresses is imitated and analysed in a cell culture model.
- We look at how endometrial cells are supplied with glucose as an energy carrier in order to gain insights into the metabolic processes accompanying the endometrial tissue change during implantation.
- Endometrial biopsy samples of patients with implantation failure or repeated miscarriages are taken to characterise various functional markers in order to analyse endometrial function disorders in the late phase of implantation.
These investigations have already expanded our insight into endometrial regulation to such an extent that we have developed an endometrial stimulation therapy with seminal fluid in the cell culture model. In the infertility clinic, this therapy for endometrial function disorders is now offered as part of IVF or ICSI treatment.