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Differential Effects of the Hormonal and Copper Intrauterine Device on the Endometrial Transcriptome.

  • Author(s): Smith-McCune, Karen;
  • Thomas, Reuben;
  • Averbach, Sarah;
  • Seidman, Dominika;
  • Takeda, Margaret;
  • Houshdaran, Sahar;
  • Giudice, Linda C
  • et al.

The contraceptive effectiveness of intrauterine devices (IUDs) has been attributed in part to a foreign body reaction in the endometrium. We performed this study to better understand mechanisms of action of contraceptives of by studying their effects on endometrial and cervical transcriptomes. We collected endometrial and cervical biopsies from women using the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (LNG-IUS, n = 11), copper intrauterine device (cu-IUD, n = 13) or levonorgestrel-containing combined oral contraceptives (COC, n = 12), and from women not using contraceptives (control group, n = 11). Transcriptional profiling was performed with Affymetrix arrays, Principal Component Analysis and the bioconductor package limma. In endometrial samples from cu-IUD users, there were no genes with statistically significant differential expression compared to controls. In LNG-IUS users, 2509 genes were differentially expressed and mapped predominantly onto immune and inflammatory pathways. The cervical samples showed no statistically significant differential gene expression compared to controls. Hormonal and copper IUDs have significantly different effects on the endometrial transcriptome, with the LNG-IUS transcriptome showing pronounced inflammation and immune activation compared to controls whereas the cu-IUD transcriptome was indistinguishable from luteal phase endometrium. These findings argue against a foreign body reaction as a common mechanism of action of IUDs.

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