Environmental and occupational exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) is a major threat to female reproductive health. Bisphenol A ( ), an environmental toxicant that is commonly found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, has received much attention due to its estrogenic activity and high risk of chronic exposure in human. Whereas has been linked to infertility and recurrent miscarriage in women, the impact of its exposure on uterine function during early pregnancy remains unclear. In a recent publication in < i > Endocrinology < /i >, we demonstrated that prolonged exposure to an environmental relevant dose of disrupts progesterone receptor-regulated uterine functions, thus affecting uterine receptivity for embryo implantation and decidua morphogenesis, two critical events for establishment and maintenance of early pregnancy. In particular we reported a marked impairment of progesterone receptor (PGR) expression and its downstream effector HAND2 in the uterine stromal cells in response to chronic exposure. In an earlier study we have shown that HAND2 controls embryo implantation by repressing fibroblast growth factor (FGF) expression and the MAP kinase signaling pathway, thus inhibiting epithelial proliferation. Interestingly we observed that downregulation of PGR and HAND2 expression in uterine stroma upon exposure was associated with an enhanced activation of FGFR and MAPK signaling, aberrant proliferation, and lack of uterine receptivity in the epithelium. In addition, the proliferation and differentiation of endometrial stromal cells to decidual cells, an event critical for the maintenance of early pregnancy, was severely compromised in response to . This research highlight will provide an overview of our findings and discuss the potential mechanisms by which chronic impairs PGR-HAND2 pathway and adversely affects implantation and the establishment of pregnancy.
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This project is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (award #111062), Alberta Innovates - Health Solutions, and by The Metabolomics Innovation Centre (TMIC), a nationally-funded research and core facility that supports a wide range of cutting-edge metabolomic studies. TMIC is funded by Genome Alberta, Genome British Columbia, and Genome Canada, a not-for-profit organization that is leading Canada's national genomics strategy with $900 million in funding from the federal government.