A three-dimensional study of endometrial microvessels in women using the contraceptive subdermal levonorgestrel implant system, norplant®

M. Simbar, R. Manconi, R. Markham, Martha Hickey, I.S. Fraser

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    16 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Recent evidence points towards a substantial disturbance of the process of angiogenesis within the endometrium in women who are exposed continuously to low dose contraceptive progestogens. This results in the patchy appearance of abnormally small and abnormally large, thin-walled vessels in the superficial regions of exposed endometrium. Three-dimensional pictures were developed from digitised images of serial tissue sections of endometrium in which microvascular endothelial cells were labelled with antibodies to the endothelial cell surface antigen, CD34 and their basement membranes labelled with anti-Collagen IV antibodies. Microvessels from endometrium exposed to continuous low-dose levonorgestrel from a subdermal implant system (Norplant®) displayed considerable variations in size and shape. No spiral arterioles were identified. Some microvessels showed considerable dilatation, distortion and variability in the presence of surrounding basement membrane components. Other endothelial structures included narrow, solid cords of endothelial cells, without basement membranes, which often connected with normal or abnormal vessels containing lumens. Some areas, especially deeper in the tissue, contained microvessels of normal size and shape surrounded by basement membrane. These images have revealed an overall picture of great variability in superficial endometrial vascular structures in some women using a low-dose levonorgestrel implant system which appears substantially different from that seen in normal endometrium.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)589-595
    JournalMicron
    Volume35
    Issue number7
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2004

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