Journal of Molecular Histology

, Volume 50, Issue 6, pp 563–572 | Cite as

Localization of Mucin 1 in endometrial luminal epithelium and its expression in women with reproductive failure during implantation window

  • Fangrong Wu
  • Di Mao
  • Yingyu Liu
  • Xiaoyan Chen
  • Hui Xu
  • Tin Chiu Li
  • Chi Chiu WangEmail author
Original Paper


Pinopode and Mucin 1 (MUC1) have both been proposed as morphological and molecular markers of endometrial receptivity for implantation. However, their spatial relationship in luminal epithelium and its association with reproductive failure are still unclear. This was a prospective cohort study conducted at a university assisted reproductive unit including 9 receptive control women, 18 infertile women, and 22 women with recurrent implantation failure (RIF) and 22 women with recurrent miscarriage (RM). Endometrial tissues were obtained at 7 days after luteinizing hormone surge during implantation window. Luminal epithelium was examined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). MUC1 localization in luminal epithelium was detected by scanning immunoelectron microscopy (SIM) and compared by modified double immunofluorescence (mIF) staining without antigen retrieval. SEM did not show any significant difference in percentage of secretory cells, any stage of pinopodes, and ciliated cells between control, infertility, RIF and RM groups. SIM identified MUC1 was mainly localized on surface of ciliated cells and at the bottom of cilia, not secretory cells and pinopodes, and its specific localization was validated by mIF staining. MUC1 expression in ciliated cells in control women was significantly higher than those women with reproductive failure, but there was no significant difference between RIF and RM. In conclusion, MUC1 is mainly expressed in ciliated cells, not secretory cells and pinopodes, of the endometrial luminal epithelium during implantation window. The specific expression of MUC1 in the ciliated cells in receptive control women is higher than that of women with reproductive failure during implantation window.


Endometrium Luminal epithelium Endometrial receptivity MUC1 Reproductive failure 



The authors are grateful to Ms. Josie Lai, Mr. Samuel Wong, Ms. Anny Cheung, and Ms. Jean Kung from Microscopy and Imaging Core laboratory, School of Biomedical Science, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, for their tremendous help in the electron microscopy studies.


This work was partially supported by Innovative and Technology Fund (ITF) from Innovative and Technology Commission of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (ITS/376/15FX) to T.C.L and C.C.W.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflict of interests.

Supplementary material

10735_2019_9848_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (11 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 10 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of MedicineThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong
  2. 2.Assisted Reproductive Technology Unit, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of MedicineThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong
  3. 3.Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences, Faculty of MedicineThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong
  4. 4.School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of MedicineThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong

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