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Cyclic shedding of the endometrium is unique to menstruating species. The status of the decidua in mouse menstrual-like models seems to differ from that of the predecidua in humans before endometrial breakdown. The aim of this study was to determine how this difference in decidual status is related to endometrial breakdown. A mouse menstrual-like model was generated by pharmacological progesterone withdrawal. Histomorphological analysis and reticular fiber staining were used to evaluate endometrial status. In situ zymography was used to determine the localization of active collagenase and gelatinase. The functional endometrial layer containing the mature decidual-like zone (MDZ) and predecidual-like zone (PZ) underwent breakdown. The reticular fibers underwent disruption and fragmentation and became loose or disappeared at 12 h in the PZ, where active collagenase and gelatinase were limited. The reticular fibers were visibly reduced at 24 h in the MDZ, where active collagenase was detected. A few reticular fibers remained; however, the functional layer had sloughed into the lumen of the uterus. The results showed that reticular fibers of the PZ are actively degraded during endometrial shedding.
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