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A Pair on Early Pregnancy – II Life's First Hurdle

Role of protein Shp2 in embryo implantation

24 March 2022

Life's First Hurdle

For a successful pregnancy, there are thousands of steps that need to go right, but one of the earliest hurdles is embryo implantation where the fertilised egg needs to grab onto the lining of the uterus so it can start to adapt for pregnancy. Any mistakes in this process result in a failed pregnancy. In fact, approximately 75% of failed pregnancies are linked to defects in this implantation stage, and unfortunately, we know little about how this process works. Shp2 is a protein that becomes increasingly abundant as embryos implant into the uterine lining. Researchers discovered in mice that a lack of Shp2 (bottom row) resulted in a smaller size of implantation site (the central circular shape), which ultimately meant that the embryo couldn’t survive. For women who suffer from recurring early pregnancy loss, Shp2 may be a critical target to not only more effectively diagnose but also treat those with infertility issues.

Written by Sophie Arthur

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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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