Artificial tissue used to research uterine contractions

June 02, 2020

WASHINGTON, June 2, 2020 -- Advanced tissue engineering technologies allow scientists to mimic the structure of a uterus, enabling crucial research on fertility and disease.

In an APL Bioengineering article, by AIP Publishing, researchers present two mechanobiology tools for experiments on synthetic or artificial uterine tissue. They wanted to study the negative effects of hyperperistalsis, contractions of the uterine wall that occur too frequently.

Throughout an individual's lifetime, the uterus undergoes spontaneous contractions of the uterine wall, which can induce uterine peristalsis, a specific wavelike contraction pattern. These contractions are important for many reproductive processes, such as the transportation of sperm prior to impregnation, but hyperperistalsis could impede fertility and lead to diseases, such as adenomyosis or endometriosis.

"The nonpregnant spontaneous myometrial contractions induce the uterine peristalsis, which exerts physical loads on the internal endometrial barrier and, thereby, affect the biological performance," said David Elad, one of the paper's authors.

The designed tools include a well, which can be disassembled for installation of a biological in vitro model in an experimental chamber, and a flow chamber and transmission system that create the contraction patterns.

"The cells are cultured on a biological or synthetic membrane stretched over a well bottom, which is installed into a cylindrical medium holder. Once the biological model is ready, the well bottom can be disassembled and then installed in the experimental chamber," said Elad. "As far as we know, it is the first time an in vitro biological model was exposed to peristaltic wall shear stresses."

Using their experimental setup, the authors found peristaltic shear stresses caused alterations to the cytoskeleton of endometrial epithelial cells and myometrial smooth muscle cells of the synthetic uterine tissue.

Future research using this approach might include studying the effect of different contraction patterns and the role hormones play in uterine peristalsis. The researchers noted uterine wall models can typically be applied to study models of intestine walls and some organs and tissues.

"The laboratory approach of this work demonstrates future options to explore the complex processes of human reproduction, especially during early stages when accessibility and ethical limitations prohibit in vivo experiments," said Elad.
-end-
The article, "Tissue engineered endometrial barrier exposed to peristaltic flow shear stresses," is authored by David Elad, Uri Zaretsky, Tatyana Kuperman, Mark Gavriel, Mian Long, Ariel Jaffa and Dan Grisaru. The article will appear in APL Bioengineering on June 2, 2020 (DOI: 10.1063/5.0001994). After that date, it can be accessed at https://aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/5.0001994.

ABOUT THE JOURNAL

APL Bioengineering is an open access journal publishing significant discoveries specific to the understanding and advancement of physics and engineering of biological systems. See http://aip.scitation.org/journal/apb.

American Institute of Physics

Related Fertility Articles from Brightsurf:

What are your chances of having a second IVF baby after fertility treatment for the first?
As the restrictions on fertility clinics start to be lifted and IVF treatment resumes, research published in Human Reproduction journal offers reassuring news to women who have had to delay their treatment for a second IVF baby because of the coronavirus.

Fertility preservation use among transgender adolescents
Transgender adolescents often seek hormonal intervention to achieve a body consistent with their gender identity and those interventions affect reproductive function.

A new way to assess male fertility
Current tests for male fertility include measuring the concentration and motility of spermatozoa.

Male fertility after chemotherapy: New questions raised
Professor Delb├Ęs, who specializes in reproductive toxicology, conducted a pilot study in collaboration with oncologists and fertility specialists from the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) on a cohort of 13 patients, all survivors of pediatric leukemia and lymphoma.

Vaping may harm fertility in young women
E-cigarette usage may impair fertility and pregnancy outcomes, according to a mouse study published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society.

Are fertility apps useful?
Researchers at EPFL and Stanford have carried out an analysis of the largest datasets from fertility awareness apps.

Marijuana and fertility: Five things to know
For patients who smoke marijuana and their physicians, 'Five things to know about ... marijuana and fertility' provides useful information for people who may want to conceive.

How could a changing climate affect human fertility?
Human adaptation to climate change may include changes in fertility, according to a new study by an international group of researchers.

Migrants face a trade-off between status and fertility
Researchers from the universities of Helsinki, Turku and Missouri as well as the Family Federation of Finland present the first results from a new, extraordinarily comprehensive population-wide dataset that details the lives of over 160,000 World War II evacuees in terms of integration.

Phthalates may impair fertility in female mice
A phthalate found in many plastic and personal care products may decrease fertility in female mice, a new study found.

Read More: Fertility News and Fertility Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.