Nat Med 1998 Mar;4(3):30
Begley, CG.; Hartley, L; Koentgen, F; Li, R; Nandurkar, HH; Robb, L
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Cooperative Research Centre for Cellular Growth Factors, Victoria, Australia.
During early pregnancy, in response to the implanting embryo, the surrounding uterine stroma undergoes a dramatic transformation into a specialized tissue known as the decidua. The decidua encapsulates the developing embryo, facilitating nutrient transfer and limiting trophoblast invasion. Here we show that female mice with a null mutation of the interleukin-11 receptor alpha chain are infertile because of defective decidualization. A temporal analysis revealed IL-11 expression is maximal in the normal pregnant uterus at the time of decidualization, and in situ hybridization studies showed expression of the IL-11 and the IL-11 receptor alpha chain in the developing decidual cells. These observations reveal a previously unrecognized critical role for IL-11 signaling in female reproduction.