Professor Jan Brosens and colleagues have shown, in a study supported by Genesis Research Trust, that stem cell deficiency and accelerated ‘ageing’ of the cells lining the womb (endometrial stromal cells) predisposes women to recurrent miscarriage.
At implantation, the lining of the womb must be able to support high quality embryos as well as to dispose of incompetent embryos. This ability of the lining of the womb to select and invest in the right embryo is dependent on specialist decidual cells. Failure of this selectivity check point inevitably leads to miscarriage as poor quality embryos are not efficiently rejected and high quality embryos are insufficiently supported.
The scientists studied 183 biopsies from the endometrium of women suffering from recurrent miscarriages. The study was initiated at Queen Charlotte’s Hospital and involved investigators of the University of Warwick. The team discovered that stem cell deficiency in the lining of the womb compromises the formation of specialist decidual cells as the cells age to quickly. These findings open up the possibility of screening women prior to pregnancy for the risk of miscarriage and open up the possibility of developing new therapies to prevent recurrent miscarriage.