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Concept: Endometrium

184

An important problem in reproductive medicine is deciding when people who have failed to become pregnant without medical assistance should begin investigation and treatment. This study describes a computational approach to determining what can be deduced about a couple’s future chances of pregnancy from the number of menstrual cycles over which they have been trying to conceive. The starting point is that a couple’s fertility is inherently uncertain. This uncertainty is modelled as a probability distribution for the chance of conceiving in each menstrual cycle. We have developed a general numerical computational method, which uses Bayes' theorem to generate a posterior distribution for a couple’s chance of conceiving in each cycle, conditional on the number of previous cycles of attempted conception. When various metrics of a couple’s expected chances of pregnancy were computed as a function of the number of cycles over which they had been trying to conceive, we found good fits to observed data on time to pregnancy for different populations. The commonly-used standard of 12 cycles of non-conception as an indicator of subfertility was found to be reasonably robust, though a larger or smaller number of cycles may be more appropriate depending on the population from which a couple is drawn and the precise subfertility metric which is most relevant, for example the probability of conception in the next cycle or the next 12 cycles. We have also applied our computational method to model the impact of female reproductive ageing. Results indicate that, for women over the age of 35, it may be appropriate to start investigation and treatment more quickly than for younger women. Ignoring reproductive decline during the period of attempted conception added up to two cycles to the computed number of cycles before reaching a metric of subfertility.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Fertility, Menstrual cycle, Endometrium, Progesterone, Conditional probability, Bayes' theorem, Pregnancy test

168

Previous studies have demonstrated variable influences of sexual hormonal states on female brain activation and the necessity to control for these in neuroimaging studies. However, systematic investigations of these influences, particularly those of hormonal contraceptives as compared to the physiological menstrual cycle are scarce. In the present study, we investigated the hormonal modulation of neural correlates of erotic processing in a group of females under hormonal contraceptives (C group; N = 12), and a different group of females (nC group; N = 12) not taking contraceptives during their mid-follicular and mid-luteal phases of the cycle. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure hemodynamic responses as an estimate of brain activation during three different experimental conditions of visual erotic stimulation: dynamic videos, static erotic pictures, and expectation of erotic pictures. Plasma estrogen and progesterone levels were assessed in all subjects. No strong hormonally modulating effect was detected upon more direct and explicit stimulation (viewing of videos or pictures) with significant activations in cortical and subcortical brain regions previously linked to erotic stimulation consistent across hormonal levels and stimulation type. Upon less direct and less explicit stimulation (expectation), activation patterns varied between the different hormonal conditions with various, predominantly frontal brain regions showing significant within- or between-group differences. Activation in the precentral gyrus during the follicular phase in the nC group was found elevated compared to the C group and positively correlated with estrogen levels. From the results we conclude that effects of hormonal influences on brain activation during erotic stimulation are weak if stimulation is direct and explicit but that female sexual hormones may modulate more subtle aspects of sexual arousal and behaviour as involved in sexual expectation. Results may provide a basis for future imaging studies on sexual processing in females, especially in the context of less explicit erotic stimulation.

Concepts: Hormonal contraception, Combined oral contraceptive pill, Magnetic resonance imaging, Cerebral cortex, Menstrual cycle, Endometrium, Progesterone, Ovulation

167

OBJECTIVE: To analyze the outcomes of second round of fertility-sparing management using progestin in patients with recurrent endometrial cancer after successful fertility-sparing management using progestin. METHODS: We reviewed 45 patients who had recurrence after achieving complete remission by fertility-sparing management using progestin for presumed stage IA, grade 1, endometrioid adenocarcinoma of the uterus. Of 45 patients, 33 tried progestin re-treatment at recurrence and were included in this study. RESULTS: Recurrent disease was atypical hyperplasia in 13 patients (39%) and grade 1 endometrioid adenocarcinoma in 20 patients (61%) which were confined to the endometrium. Thirty patients (91%) received medroxyprogesterone acetate (dose range, 80-500 mg/day) and three patients (9%) received megestrol acetate (dose range, 80-160 mg/day), with 29 patients receiving a dose of 500 mg/day of medroxyprogesterone acetate. The median duration of treatment was 6 months (range, 3-19 months). Five patients failed to respond to progestin re-treatment and underwent definitive surgical treatment including hysterectomy. Twenty eight patients (85%) showed complete response to progestin re-treatment. The median follow-up time after progestin re-treatment in 28 patients who achieved complete remission was 51 months (range, 24-160 months). During follow-up, five patients had second recurrence after median time interval of 14 months (range, 4-82 months). All patients who tried progestin re-treatment are alive without evidence of disease. CONCLUSION: Progestin re-treatment in patients with recurrent endometrial cancer was effective and safe. Therefore, this can be recommended for young women who still want to preserve fertility at recurrence after complete response to progestin.

Concepts: Cancer, Uterus, Menopause, Estrogen, Endometrium, Endometrial cancer, Endometrial hyperplasia, Medroxyprogesterone

164

The aim of the present study was to explore the prospective relationship between anxiety symptoms and coping strategies during late pregnancy and early postpartum.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Childbirth, Embryo, Menstrual cycle, Endometrium, Progesterone, Pregnancy test

142

Scar endometriosis is an uncommon but well-described condition. It is caused by the dissemination of endometrial tissue in the wound at the time of surgery. The deposits can involve uterine scar, abdominal musculature or subcutaneous tissue, with the latter being the most common. It usually presents as a palpable mass at the scar site with or without cyclical pain. We report three cases of scar endometriosis which presented with cyclical pain and swelling at the abdominal wall scar following uterine surgery. The patients underwent imaging which revealed abnormal findings at the scar site suggesting scar endometriosis. In the presence of strong clinical suspicion and supportive imaging, all three of them underwent local excision of the lesion. The diagnosis of endometriosis was confirmed on histopathology.

Concepts: Surgery, English-language films, Menstrual cycle, Pelvis, Endometrium, Subcutaneous tissue, Adenomyosis, Human abdomen

101

Perimenopausal period refers to the interval when women’s menstrual cycles become irregular and is characterized by an increased risk of depression. Use of homeopathy to treat depression is widespread but there is a lack of clinical trials about its efficacy in depression in peri- and postmenopausal women. The aim of this study was to assess efficacy and safety of individualized homeopathic treatment versus placebo and fluoxetine versus placebo in peri- and postmenopausal women with moderate to severe depression.

Concepts: Menopause, Estrogen, Menstrual cycle, Placebo, Endometrium, Menstruation, Homeopathy, Menarche

98

Death by suicide during the perinatal period has been understudied in Canada. We examined the epidemiology of and health service use related to suicides during pregnancy and the first postpartum year.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Childbirth, Embryo, Menstrual cycle, Endometrium, Progesterone, Pregnancy test

71

Sex hormones fluctuate during the menstrual cycle. Evidence from animal studies suggests similar subtle fluctuations in hippocampal structure, predominantly linked to estrogen. Hippocampal abnormalities have been observed in several neuropsychiatric pathologies with prominent sexual dimorphism. Yet, the potential impact of subtle sex-hormonal fluctuations on human hippocampal structure in health is unclear. We tested the feasibility of longitudinal neuroimaging in conjunction with rigorous menstrual cycle monitoring to evaluate potential changes in hippocampal microstructure associated with physiological sex-hormonal changes. Thirty longitudinal diffusion weighted imaging scans of a single healthy female subject were acquired across two full menstrual cycles. We calculated hippocampal fractional anisotropy (FA), a measure sensitive to changes in microstructural integrity, and investigated potential correlations with estrogen. We observed a significant positive correlation between FA values and estrogen in the hippocampus bilaterally, revealing a peak in FA closely paralleling ovulation. This exploratory, single-subject study demonstrates the feasibility of a longitudinal DWI scanning protocol across the menstrual cycle and is the first to link subtle endogenous hormonal fluctuations to changes in FA in vivo. In light of recent attempts to neurally phenotype single humans, our findings highlight menstrual cycle monitoring in parallel with highly sampled individual neuroimaging data to address fundamental questions about the dynamics of plasticity in the adult brain.

Concepts: Combined oral contraceptive pill, Menopause, Estradiol, Menstrual cycle, Endometrium, Corpus luteum, Progesterone, Ovulation

69

Infection with Listeria monocytogenes during pregnancy is associated with miscarriage, preterm birth, and neonatal complications, including sepsis and meningitis. While the risk of these conditions is thought to be greatest during the third trimester of pregnancy, the determinants of fetoplacental susceptibility to infection, the contribution of gestational age, and the in vivo progression of disease at the maternal-fetal interface are poorly understood. We developed a nonhuman primate model of listeriosis to better understand antecedents of adverse pregnancy outcomes in early pregnancy. Four pregnant cynomolgus macaques (Macaca fascicularis) received a single intragastric inoculation between days 36 and 46 of gestation with 10(7) CFU of an L. monocytogenes strain isolated from a previous cluster of human listeriosis cases that resulted in adverse pregnancy outcomes. Fecal shedding, maternal bacteremia, and fetal demise were consistently noted within 7 to 13 days. Biopsy specimens of maternal liver, spleen, and lymph node displayed variable inflammation and relatively low bacterial burden. In comparison, we observed greater bacterial burden in the decidua and placenta and the highest burden in fetal tissues. Histopathology indicated vasculitis, fibrinoid necrosis, and thrombosis of the decidual spiral arteries, acute chorioamnionitis and villitis in the placenta, and hematogenous infection of the fetus. Vascular pathology suggests early impact of L. monocytogenes infection on spiral arteries in the decidua, which we hypothesize precipitates subsequent placentitis and fetal demise. These results demonstrate that L. monocytogenes tropism for the maternal reproductive tract results in infection of the decidua, placenta, and the fetus itself during the first trimester of pregnancy.IMPORTANCE Although listeriosis is known to cause significant fetal morbidity and mortality, it is typically recognized in the third trimester of human pregnancy. Its impact on early pregnancy is poorly defined. Here we provide evidence that exposure to L. monocytogenes in the first trimester poses a greater risk of fetal loss than currently appreciated. Similarities in human and nonhuman primate placentation, physiology, and reproductive immunology make this work highly relevant to human pregnancy. We highlight the concept that the maternal immune response that protects the mother from serious disease is unable to protect the fetus, a concept relevant to classic TORCH (toxoplasmosis, other, rubella, cytomegalovirus, and herpes) infections and newly illuminated by current Zika virus outbreaks. Studies with this model, using the well-understood organism L. monocytogenes, will permit precise analysis of host-pathogen interactions at the maternal-fetal interface and have broad significance to both recognized and emerging infections in the setting of pregnancy.

Concepts: Immune system, Pregnancy, Childbirth, Embryo, Fetus, Uterus, Endometrium, Gestational age

45

Reports on bacteria detected in maternal fluids during pregnancy are typically associated with adverse consequences, and whether the female reproductive tract harbours distinct microbial communities beyond the vagina has been a matter of debate. Here we systematically sample the microbiota within the female reproductive tract in 110 women of reproductive age, and examine the nature of colonisation by 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing and cultivation. We find distinct microbial communities in cervical canal, uterus, fallopian tubes and peritoneal fluid, differing from that of the vagina. The results reflect a microbiota continuum along the female reproductive tract, indicative of a non-sterile environment. We also identify microbial taxa and potential functions that correlate with the menstrual cycle or are over-represented in subjects with adenomyosis or infertility due to endometriosis. The study provides insight into the nature of the vagino-uterine microbiome, and suggests that surveying the vaginal or cervical microbiota might be useful for detection of common diseases in the upper reproductive tract.Whether the female reproductive tract harbours distinct microbiomes beyond the vagina has been a matter of debate. Here, the authors show a subject-specific continuity in microbial communities at six sites along the female reproductive tract, indicative of a non-sterile environment.

Concepts: Uterus, 16S ribosomal RNA, Reproductive system, Menstrual cycle, Female reproductive system, Endometrium, Cervix, Vagina