Deciphering the Endometrial Niche of Human Thin Endometrium at Single-Cell Resolution

Haining Lv, Guangfeng Zhao, Peipei Jiang, Huiyan Wang, Zhiyin Wang, Simin Yao, Zhenhua Zhou, Limin Wang, Dan Liu, Wenbo Deng, Jianwu Dai, and Yali Hu

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2115912119.


Thin endometrium has been widely recognized as a critical cause of infertility, recurrent pregnancy loss, and placental abnormalities; however, access to effective treatment is a formidable challenge due to the rudimentary understanding of the pathogenesis of thin endometrium. Here, we profiled the transcriptomes of human endometrial cells at single-cell resolution to characterize cell types, their communications, and the underlying mechanism of endometrial growth in normal and thin endometrium during the proliferative phase. Stromal cells were the most abundant cell type in the endometrium, with a subpopulation of proliferating stromal cells whose cell cycle signaling pathways were compromised in thin endometrium. Both single-cell RNA sequencing and experimental verification revealed cellular senescence in the stroma and epithelium accompanied by collagen overdeposition around blood vessels. Moreover, decreased numbers of macrophages and natural killer cells further exacerbated endometrial thinness. In addition, our results uncovered aberrant SEMA3, EGF, PTN, and TWEAK signaling pathways as causes for the insufficient proliferation of the endometrium. Together, these data provide insight into therapeutic strategies for endometrial regeneration and growth to treat thin endometrium.