Cells that make bone marrow also travel to the womb to help pregnancy
Bone marrow-derived cells play a role in changes to the mouse uterus before and during pregnancy, enabling implantation of the embryo and reducing pregnancy loss, according to new research.Bone marrow progenitors can become either blood or tissue cells. Within the uterus they differentiate into endometrial tissue cells in the lining of the womb, but until now it was not known if they have a function in pregnancy. Reshef Tal and colleagues from Yale School of Medicine developed a bone marrow transplantation protocol that preserved ovary and reproductive function, allowing them for the first time to track these cells in pregnancy, showing that during pregnancy cells from the bone marrow were preferentially recruited to the uterus and were concentrated near the site of implantation, on the maternal side of the placenta. The authors demonstrate that after reaching the uterus, these cells proliferate and become so-called decidual cells, specialized uterine cells which are critical for nurturing the embryo and supporting its implantation.