Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and osteopontin (OPN) are suggested to facilitate angiogenesis and vascular remodeling in endometrial receptivity. Determination of the endometrial microvascular density (MVD) is the commonest method used to indirectly assess the levels of vasculogenesis and angiogenesis; however, the associations among VEGF, OPN and MVD remain unclear. Controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH) with the gonadotrophin-releasing hormone agonist-long protocol may impair endometrial receptivity, and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) may exert therapeutic effects to relieve this impairment. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of COH on implantation biology and pregnancy outcome, and to explore the potential therapeutic role of the TCM Zi Dan Yin (ZDY). Female Sprague Dawley rats were divided into four groups: Control, COH, ZDY and COH + ZDY. On days 3, 4 and 5 of pregnancy (D3, D4 and D5, respectively), endometrial MVD was measured with cluster of differentiation 34 immunohistochemical detection, and VEGF and OPN protein and mRNA expression was detected through western blotting and reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) analysis. On D10, the average number of implantation sites was observed. Subsequent to conceiving and bearing newborn rats, the number of live births from each group was recorded. COH was shown to have adverse effects on implantation and pregnancy outcome. The MVD was found to be significantly increased in the COH group compared with that in the control, ZDY and COH+ZDY groups. The results of the protein and RT-qPCR analysis of VEGF and OPN revealed the same trend. Conversely, ZDY reversed the changes in endometrial MVD, VEGF and OPN, and was indicated to improve uterine receptivity and pregnancy outcome. No significant difference was observed among the control, ZDY and COH + ZDY groups. In conclusion, since the results for MVD and VEGF and OPN expression were consistent, MVD could be used as an alternative approach to identify the period of receptivity in rats.
Gong, X., Tong, Q., Chen, Z., Zhang, Y., Xu, C., & Jin, Z. (2015). Microvascular density and vascular endothelial growth factor and osteopontin expression during the implantation window in a controlled ovarian hyperstimulation rat model. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, 9(3), 773–779. https://doi.org/10.3892/etm.2015.2181