The Multifaceted Actions of Leukaemia Inhibitory Factor in Mediating Uterine Receptivity and Embryo Implantation

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Embryo implantation is mediated by the combined actions of the ovarian hormones E2 and P4 on the uterus. In addition, the pro-inflammatory cytokine, leukaemia inhibitory factor (LIF), plays a pivotal role in regulating uterine receptivity. LIF is expressed in the endometrial glands and has a robust action on the uterine luminal epithelium (LE). In mice, LIF is induced by nidatory E2 and functions to convert the LE from a non-receptive to an embryo-responsive state. LIF mediates its actions by activating the JAK-STAT pathway specifically in the LE. Activation of JAK-STAT pathway results in the induction of many additional pathways, including some 40 + transcription factors, many of which initiate a cascade of changes affecting epithelial polarity, epithelial–mesenchymal interactions, angiogenesis, stromal cell decidualization, and inhibiting cell proliferation. This review discusses the role of LIF and the recent analysis of its action on the uterine LE in regulating endometrial receptivity and implantation.

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