Semin Reprod Med 1999; 17(1): 13-21
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-1016207
Copyright © 1999 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc.

Roles of the Insulinlike Growth Factor Family in Nonpregnant Human Endometrium and at the Decidual:Trophoblast Interface

Linda C. Giudice, J.C. Irwin
  • Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, California
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Publication History

Publication Date:
15 March 2008 (online)


The insulinlike growth factor (IGF) family is believed to be important in endometrial development during the menstrual cycle and in the process of implantation. The mitogenic, differentiative, and antiapoptotic properties of the IGFs and their binding proteins, as well as their spatial and temporal expression in cycling endometrium, suggest that they may participate in endometrial growth, differentiation, apoptosis, and perhaps angiogenesis. IGFBP proteases, which increase IGF bioavailability, have been localized to endometrial stromal cells and to the human cytotrophoblast and likely play important roles in endometrial, decidual, and trophoblast physiology. IGFBP-1 is a major protein product of nonpregnant endometrium during the mid-late secretory phase and occurs in abundance in decidua. Its roles as an IGF-binding protein and as a trophoblast integrin ligand suggest that it may have multiple roles in endometrial development and in interactions between the decidua and the invading trophoblast. Recent evidence suggests that it may have a role in the process of shallow implantation in the clinical disorder of preclampsia. In contrast to knowledge about the roles of IGF peptides, IGFBP proteases, and IGFBPs in normal endometrial development and early human pregnancy, little information is available regarding this family in abnormal endometrial development, in occult endometrial defects, and in uterine receptivity and nonreceptivity.