Development of a method to isolate and culture highly purified populations of stromal and epithelial cells from human endometrial biopsy specimens.


Appropriate endometrial maturation is of paramount importance to achieve reproductive success. Practical and ethical considerations require that in vitro methods be available to evaluate regulation of human endometrial function. Additionally, tissue complexity requires separation of individual cell populations. This report describes an improved method for isolation of endometrial epithelial and stromal cells, using biopsy specimens as a tissue source. Separated cells were obtained using selective enzymatic digestion in conjunction with physical separation procedures. Isolated populations exhibited over 95% homogeneity, ascertained immunocytochemically. Using this system, isolated cells from normal endometrium can readily be obtained for in vitro studies. Within the defined conditions of a culture system, important areas of current concern in the endometrium such as ectopic endometrial growth and implantation can be addressed.