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Lab model of embryo implantation into the lining of the womb allows study of problems in early pregnancy

13 January 2022

Model Behaviour

Even in the earliest stages of pregnancy problems can occur. As the newly formed embryo attaches to the lining of the womb, called the endometrium, the lining changes to prepare for pregnancy. During this transformation some cells stop dividing in a process called senescence. When this happens in excess it can lead to recurrent miscarriages, and when senescence is lacking embryos can fail to implant properly. To further our knowledge of these early moments of pregnancy, researchers have developed a new model of the human endometrium which, when hormones are added, mimics the implantation environment. Using a drug called dasatinib to eliminate senescent cells, the team captured a time-lapse of a replica implantation failure, where cell movement towards the embryo stopped, and the embryo failed to expand. In the future this model could be used to test potential treatments for pregnancy disorders.

Written by Katy Pallister

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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