The human uterus is a remarkable organ. During the reproductive life, the endometrium (the uterine mucosa) undergoes regular menstrual cycles consisting of tissue thickening, differentiation and spontaneous self-degradation. The menstrual cycle is controlled by fluctuations of two hormones, estradiol and progesterone. Inappropriate response to these hormones can lead to fertility issues and endometrial diseases such as abnormal uterine bleeding, endometriosis and endometrial cancer. Moreover, progestins (synthetic progesterone-like drugs) are useful for treating endometriosis but fail in a large majority of patients.
Pursuing the work initiated in the 1990’s by Etienne Marbaix on the role of matrix metalloproteinases in menstruation and in abnormal uterine bleeding, the Henriet lab aims to decipher the network of molecular relays modulating in space and time the global control exerted in the human endometrium by estradiol and progesterone, and how their dysfunction can lead to endometrial diseases. Current projects focus on alternative mechanisms of response to progesterone and progestins. Our studies, exclusively dedicated to the human endometrium, typically combine in-depth analyses of hysterectomy specimens with experiments involving various models including cell culture, 3D models and xenografts. Our work benefits from access to state-of-the-art technological platforms, notably for molecular biology and cell and tissue imaging and microscopy.