Approximately 50-80 million reproductive age couples worldwide suffer from infertility. These couples encounter psychological distress, including low self-esteem, isolation, and depression; emphasizing the need for a better understanding the causes of infertility. At Winuthayanon Lab, we focus on studying how ovarian steroid hormones (estrogen and progesterone) affect fertility during sperm migration, fertilization, embryo development, and embryo transport within the female reproductive tract. There are multiple components of the cells in female reproductive tract that work in concert to provide optimal microenvironment for gametes (eggs and sperm) and the embryos to establish successful pregnancy. In our lab, we use genetic engineered mouse models to dissect the molecular mechanisms and functional requirement of estrogen and progesterone signals through their classical nuclear receptors (estrogen receptor; ESR1 and progesterone receptor; PGR) during pregnancy. Our research aims to provide fundamental knowledge in reproductive biology during early pregnancy as well as potential targets for contraceptive agents and therapeutic approaches for infertility.
It is incredible how different epithelial cell types in different tissues work! This video shows the beating of ciliated epithelial cells from the mouse oviduct collected on the first day of pregnancy (right after fertilization). The cilia beat in a unidirectional fashion to propel the fluid (and potentially embryo) from the oviduct to the uterus. The video was recorded real-time at 100 frames/second for 10 seconds.
Story By Eric Sorensen, WSU science writer
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