The ontogeny of myometrial stem cells in OCT4-GFP transgenic mouse model

Soumia Brakta, Aymara Mas, Ayman Al-Hendy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Myometrium, the muscular wall of the uterus, is an active organ markedly remodeled during a woman's reproductive life, especially during pregnancy. Different studies using the 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine and side population methods in murine and human myometrium have suggested the presence of somatic stem cells in this tissue because of its remarkable regenerative capacity. Recently, our group has developed a surface-marker (Stro1/CD44)-specific approach to isolate and characterize myometrial somatic stem cells (SSCs) from humans and rats. Objective: In this study, we aimed to identify and localize the putative myometrial stem cell population in the murine uterus by using the specific surface markers, Nanog/CD44. Methods: Uteri from OCT4-GFP transgenic mice at different early-life time points were analyzed via single and double immunohistochemistry to co-localize myometrial stem cell marker CD44 with other general stemmness markers, e.g., Nanog and Oct-4. Finally, we correlated the frequency of myometrial stem cells in vivo with the expression of sex steroid hormone receptors, estrogen receptor α (ERα), and progesterone receptors A and B (PR A&B). Results: Nanog + /CD44 + stem cells were present in murine myometrium. Both stem cell markers were shown to co-localize with Oct-4 expression. Time-course experiments demonstrated that their percentages were significantly lower at the pre-sexual age of 1 week than at the sexually mature ages of 3 to 24 weeks. Importantly, both ERα and PR A&B were abundantly expressed in the myometrium at ages 1, 3 and 4 weeks. Conclusions: We demonstrated that murine CD44 + myometrial cells have features of somatic stem cells with the expression of typical undifferentiated markers. Furthermore, our results suggest that myometrial stem cells are sex steroid hormone dependent, likely via paracrine pathway, and increase in numbers with reproductive maturity and rise in serum estrogen and progesterone levels around 3 weeks of age in mice. The abundance and early onset expression of ER/PR emphasize the vulnerability of neonatal myometrium to environmental endocrine disruptors which can potentially lead to permanent reprograming and adult onset of myometrial disorders such as uterine fibroids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number333
JournalStem Cell Research and Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 29 2018


  • CD44
  • Myometrium
  • Nanog
  • OCT4-GFP transgenic mice
  • Somatic stem cells (SSCs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Cell Biology


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