The effect of estradiol depletion during the luteal phase on endometrial development

J. S. Younis, Y. Ezra, Y. Sherman, A. Simon, J. G. Schenker, N. Laufer

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54 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine whether luteal E2 is obligatory for obtaining an adequately developed endometrium. Design: Survey of women with premature ovarian failure (POF) in a prospective, controlled, randomized study. Setting: In vitro fertilization unit in a tertiary care university medical center. Patients: Fourteen amenorrheic women with POF, candidates for oocyte donation, were divided into two distinct groups with seven women in each subgroup. Interventions: Endometrial priming with a fixed dose of oral micronized E2, 4 mg/d for 14 days, was similarly performed in the study and the control groups. Progesterone replacement during the luteal phase was also identical in the two groups and was accomplished by IM P in oil, 50 mg/d for another 14 days. Only the control group continued to have the same E2 regimen during the luteal phase. Main Outcome Measures and Results: Follicular phase mean E2 levels as well as luteal phase mean P levels were similar in both groups. However, luteal E2 levels differed significantly between the study and the control groups (21 ± 5 and 692 ± 199 pg/mL, respectively; conversion factor to SI units, 3,671). Nevertheless, histologic evaluation of endometrial biopsies on days 21 and 26 were similar for both groups. Endometrial gland dating, using light microscopy in the study and the control groups, on day 21, was 19.1 ± 0.8 and 18.4 ± 0.5, respectively, and on day 26, 25.4 ± 0.8 and 25.9 ± 0.5, respectively. Dating of the stroma in the two biopsies was also similar in both groups. Moreover, transmission electron microscopy performed in two patients of the study group showed typical characteristics of a secretory endometrium. Conclusions: Luteal E2 depletion in the human does not seem to adversely affect the morphological developmental capacity of the endometrium. Our results suggest that E2 secretion by the corpus luteum in the human does not appear to be obligatory for the development of a normal secretory endometrium. The actual receptivity of the endometrium after such preparation needs to be evaluated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-107
Number of pages5
JournalFertility and Sterility
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Corpus luteum
  • endometrium
  • estradiol
  • luteal phase
  • ovarian failure


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