The human uterus is composed of the endometrial lining and the myometrium. The endometrium, in particular the functionalis layer, regenerates and regresses with each menstrual cycle under hormonal control. A mouse xenograft model has been developed in which the functional changes of the endometrium are reproduced. The myometrium possesses similar plasticity, critical to permit the changes connected with uterine expansion and involution associated with pregnancy. Regeneration and remodeling in the uterus are likely achieved through endometrial and myometrial stem cell systems. Putative stem/progenitor cells in humans and rodents recently have been identified, isolated and characterized. Their roles in endometrial physiology and pathophysiology are presently under study. These stem/progenitor cells ultimately may provide a novel means by which to produce tissues and organs in vitro and in vivo.
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