Dynamic reciprocity (DR) refers to the ongoing, bidirectional interaction between cells and their microenvironment, specifically the extracellular matrix (ECM). The continuous remodeling of the ECM exerts mechanical force on cells and modifies biochemical mediators near the cell membrane, thereby initiating cell-signaling cascades that produce changes in gene expression and cell behavior. Cellular changes, in turn, affect the composition and organization of ECM components. These continuous interactions are the fundamental principle behind DR, and its critical role throughout development and adult tissue homeostasis has been extensively investigated. While DR in the mammary gland has been well described, we provide direct evidence that similar dynamic interactions occur in other areas of reproductive biology as well. In order to establish the importance of DR in the adaptive functioning of the female reproductive tract, we present our most current understanding of DR in reproductive tissues, exploring the mammary gland, ovary, and uterus. In addition to explaining normal physiological function, investigating DR may shed new light into pathologic processes that occur in these tissues and provide an exciting opportunity for novel therapeutic intervention.
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Vol. 92 • No. 1