Author(s): Mikhailov VM
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Abstract The decisive events in the development of decidual cells (DC) are presented through examples of human and rodent decidua. Human decidua is formed by large decidual cells (LDC), endometrial granulated cells (eGC), and small decidual cells. The LDC form the main type of decidual membranes, which determine the morphological characteristics of the decidua as a tissue. Immediate precursor cells of LDC are located below the basement membrane of the uterine epithelium before and during implantation. At the next stage of differentiation, LDC acquire a spindle-like shape. Rodent LDC form an epithelium-like structure with gland properties at the terminal stage of differentiation. The single-cell structure of human decidua is a derivative of the epithelial organization of rodent decidua. Spindle-like rat LDC are characterized by a high level of protein, RNA, and DNA synthesis and by intensive proliferation. At the beginning of pregnancy, a cell proliferation predominates over cell loss. By Days 12-13 of rat pregnancy LDC loss reaches 80\% per day. Terminally differentiated LDC (tLDC) disappear from decidua due to apoptosis. Apoptosis of tLDC and the exhaustion of their precursors account for the disappearance of LDC in the middle of rat pregnancy. Human term decidua is composed of living cells. Human LDC (hLDC) comprise the largest part of human decidual cells (hLDC). hLDC account for 60-90\% of hDC but their relative amount can decrease to 35\% in the case of significant cell loss under unfavorable conditions. A decrease of LDC is not accompanied by DC proliferation. The lack of ability of decidua to compensate for DC loss suggests DC is a growing type of cell population without cambial cells. LDC function largely by blebbing and budding. Human and rat endometrial granulated cells (eGC) are characterized by a low level of natural killer (NK) activity and a high level of natural suppressor (NS) activity. The combination of NK and NS properties is characteristic of the eGC immunoregulatory function. Other functions of decidua include control of inflammation and trophoblast growth and expansion in the uterus. The life span of decidual cells is limited by pregnancy.
This article was published in Int Rev Cytol
and referenced in Journal of Cell Science & Therapy