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Researchers from the Carlos Simon Foundation reveal cellular and molecular changes in the uterus that could explain the obstetric risks associated with age

Researchers from the INCLIVA Biomedical Research Institute and the Carlos Simon Foundation have recently published a study that helps to expand our understanding of the cellular and molecular changes that occur in the smooth muscle of the uterus, known as the myometrium, as women age.

The results of this study, led by Dr. Aymara Mas and Dr. Carlos Simon, were published in the scientific journal Nature Communications, in an article titled “Effect of aging on the human myometrium at single-cell resolution.” The study involved physicians from the Hospital Clinico, the Hospital General, and the Hospital La Fe de Valencia, as well as researchers from the Josep Carreras Leukemia Research Institute in Barcelona.

Using cutting-edge genetic sequencing techniques, the researchers have revealed for the first time a detailed atlas of the cells present in the human myometrium. This meticulous cellular mapping of the uterus provides a comprehensive overview, at the individual cell level, of the genetic and proteomic changes in this essential organ, not only during the reproductive stage, but also providing insights throughout a woman’s lifetime.

The results indicate that aging of the myometrium is associated with a decrease in contractile cells, a decrease in the expression of ion channels in smooth muscle cells, and changes in the gene expression of the main myometrial cells. These factors, combined with an alteration in cell communication, lead to a deterioration in angiogenesis, as well as an increase in fibrosis and inflammation.

These findings offer valuable insights into better understanding the age-related risk factors in the maternal realm, highlighting the importance of future research to improve women’s reproductive health.

This project has been funded by the European Union (HUTER 2020/2021 Grant Agreement 874867), the Carlos III Health Institute (CP19/00162 and PI20/00942), the Regional Development Funds (FEDER), and the Generalitat Valenciana (FDEGENT/2019/010 and ACIF/2021/348).

Article reference:
Punzon-Jimenez, P., Machado-Lopez, A., Perez-Moraga, R. et al. Effect of aging on the human myometrium at single-cell resolution. Nat Commun 15, 945 (2024).