Changes in Nuclear and Nucleolar Areas of Endometrial Glandular Cells Throughout the Menstrual Cycle

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SummaryReproducible measures of the ultrastructural changes occurring throughout the normal human menstrual cycle are useful for defining and differentiating between normal and pathological states. Glandular endometrial functionalis epithelium obtained from five menstrual cycle subphases (early and late proliferative; and early, middle and late secretory) has been quanti-tated and compared for changes in nuclear and nucleolar size. These analyses indicate that (a) nuclear area significantly increases in the late secretory sub-phase, perhaps a requirement of endometrial regeneration; (b) nucleolar area peaks during the early secretory subphase, a necessary prelude for the later increased secretory activity; and (c) nucleolar area declines in the middle and late secretory subphases, probably due to falling hormone blood levels late in the cycle. In the proliferative phase, the majority of cells containing large nuclei and nucleoli have a relatively undeveloped cytoplasm, while the cytoplasm of those in the secretory phase contains glycogen. These cells were termed Stage 1 and 2 cells, respectively. The late secretory subphase contains some degenerating-mature epithelial cells with large nuclei and small nucleoli as well as differentiated and regenerating cells with larger nucleoli. These measures establish a baseline of the normal changes in nuclear and nucleolar size as they occur throughout the normal human menstrual cycle.

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