The endometrium undergoes profound changes in tissue architecture and composition, both during the menstrual cycle as well as in the context of pregnancy. Dynamic remodeling processes of the endometrial extracellular matrix (ECM) are a major element of endometrial homeostasis, including changes across the menstrual cycle. A critical element of this tissue microenvironment is the endometrial basement membrane, a specialized layer of proteins that separates the endometrial epithelium from the underlying endometrial ECM. Bioengineering models of the endometrial microenvironment that present an appropriate endometrial ECM and basement membrane may provide an improved environment to study endometrial epithelial cell (EEC) function. Here, we exploit a tiered approach using two-dimensional high-throughput microarrays and three-dimensional gelatin hydrogels to define patterns of EEC attachment and cytokeratin 18 (CK18) expression in response to combinations of endometrial basement membrane proteins. We identify combinations (collagen IV + tenascin C; collagen I + collagen III; hyaluronic acid + tenascin C; collagen V; collagen V + hyaluronic acid; collagen III; and collagen I) that facilitate increased EEC attachment, increased CK18 intensity, or both. We also identify significant EEC mediated remodeling of the methacrylamide-functionalized gelatin matrix environment via analysis of nascent protein deposition. Together, we report efforts to tailor the localization of basement membrane-associated proteins and proteoglycans in order to investigate tissue-engineered models of the endometrial microenvironment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering