Uterine Gland

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Uterine gland secretory phase

The uterine gland or endometrial gland is a simple tubular gland formed by invagination of the uterine endometrium. The uterine epithelium is described as a columnar epithelium of ciliated cells and secretory cells.

The glands extend into the underlying thick vascular stromal layer. The glands line the uterus body and change in appearance and secretion during the menstrual cycle. The glands secretions function to provide the initial nutritional support of the conceptus and may have a role in maintaining adhesion.

Menstrual Cycle Links: Introduction | menstrual histology | ovary | corpus luteum | oocyte | uterus | Uterine Gland | estrous cycle | pregnancy test
Historic Embryology - Menstrual 
1839 Corpus Luteum Structure | 1851 Corpus Luteum | 1933 Pap Smear | 1937 Corpus Luteum Hormone | 1942 Human Reproduction Hormones | 1951 Corpus Luteum | 1969 Ultrastructure of Development and Regression | 1969 Ultrastructure during Pregnancy

Some Recent Findings

  • WNTs in the neonatal mouse uterus: potential regulation of endometrial gland development.[1] "The WNTs are secreted proteins that control essential developmental processes, such as embryonic patterning, cell growth, migration, and differentiation. In mice, three members of the Wnt gene family (Wnt4, Wnt5a, and Wnt7a) have been studied extensively in the female reproductive tract. The present study determined effects of postnatal day and exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES) on Wnt and Fzd gene expression in the mouse uterus as well as the biological role of Wnt11 in postnatal mouse uterine development and function." Developmental Signals - Wnt

Uterine Gland Histology During the Menstrual Cycle

Uterine gland proliferative phase.jpg Uterine gland secretory phase.jpg
Uterine gland proliferative phase Uterine gland secretory phase

Uterine changes cartoon 1.jpg

Menstrual Cycle Histology

The different stages of the menstrual cycle can be monitored by the cellular appearance of vaginal smears Menstrual Cycle - Histology.

A more invasive technique is dilate and curettage (DnC), which allows sampling of the functional layer of the uterine endometrium Menstrual Cycle - Histology.


Decidualization is the process of converting endometrial stromal cells into decimal cells and requires at least 8–10 days of hormone stimulation.

  • initiated during the mid-secretory phase of the menstrual cycle
  • in response to elevated progesterone levels
  • acts mainly through progesterone receptor (PR) PR-A (other isoform is PR-B)


PMID: 21546446 Prokineticin 1 (PROK1) signalling via prokineticin receptor 1 (PROKR1) regulates Dickkopf 1 (DKK1) expression, a negative regulator of canonical Wnt signaling.

Links: Placenta - Maternal Decidua

Histiotrophic Nutrition

Term used to describe in early placenta development the intital transfer of nutrition from maternal to embryo (histiotrophic nutrition) compared to later blood-borne nutrition (hemotrophic nutrition). Histotroph is the nutritional material accumulated in spaces between the maternal and fetal tissues, derived from the maternal endometrium and the uterine glands. This nutritional material is absorbed by phagocytosis initially by blastocyst trophectoderm and then by trophoblast of the placenta.[2] in later placental development nutrition is by the exchange of blood-borne materials between the maternal and fetal circulations, hemotrophic nutrition.


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  2. <pubmed>12050279</pubmed>



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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2019, September 23) Embryology Uterine Gland. Retrieved from https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Uterine_Gland

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© Dr Mark Hill 2019, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G