Despite its importance in reproductive biology and women's health, a detailed molecular-level understanding of the human endometrium is lacking. Indeed, no comprehensive studies have been undertaken to elucidate the important protein expression differences between the endometrial glandular epithelium and surrounding stroma during the proliferative and midsecretory phases of the menstrual cycle. We utilized laser microdissection to harvest epithelial cells and stromal compartments from proliferative and secretory premenopausal endometrial tissue and performed a global, quantitative mass spectrometry-based proteomics analysis. This analysis identified 1224 total proteins from epithelial cells, among which 318 were differentially abundant between the proliferative and secretory phases (q < 0.05), and 1005 proteins from the stromal compartments, 19 of which were differentially abundant between the phases (q < 0.05). Several proteins were chosen for validation by immunohistochemistry in an independent set of uterine tissues, including carboxypeptidase M, tenascin C, neprilysin, and ectonucleotide pyrophosphatase/phosphodiesterase family member 3 (ENPP3). ENPP3, which was elevated in epithelial glandular cells in the secretory phase, was confirmed to be elevated in midsecretory-phase baboon uterine lavage samples and also observed to have an N-linked glycosylated form that was not observed in the proliferative phase. This study provides a detailed view into the global proteomic alterations of the epithelial cells and stromal compartments of the cycling premenopausal endometrium. These proteomic alterations during endometrial remodeling provide a basis for numerous follow-up investigations on the function of these differentially regulated proteins and their role in reproductive biology and endometrial pathologies.
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Vol. 92 • No. 4