On 16 June at 15:00 Sergo Kasvandik will defend his doctoral thesis „The role of proteomic changes in endometrial cells – from the perspective of fertility and endometriosis“ .
Professor of Reproductive Medicine Andres Salumets (PhD (Biology), Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Tartu
Senior Research Fellow in Genetics Maire Peters (PhD (Genetics), Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Tartu
Customer Relations and Sales Manager Lauri Peil (PhD, Icosagen Cell Factory OÜ)
Professor Piotr Laudański (PhD), Medical University of Warsaw, Poland
The impact of genomics and transcriptomics methods for reproductive medicine has been substantial by increasing the understanding behind heritable factors of diseases and by enabling new avenues for diagnostic testing. Nevertheless, the main functional output of genes are proteins, and, studying proteins is essential for providing further detail into the understanding of pathogenetic mechanisms. Furthermore, the correlation between early gene expression and the levels of proteins in cells, tissues and bodily fluids has been shown to be limited. Mass spectrometry-based proteomics is a progressively developing field that has finally reached to a point where measurement of proteomes or the full protein complement is now becoming feasible. The main objective of the current work was to apply modern proteomics methods to enhance the understanding behind reproductive diseases and to propose new biomarkers for diagnostics. More specifically, our work focused on endometriosis and the search for markers that could improve the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process.
By analyzing cells from the uterine lining and endometriosis lesions, we found evidence for altered energy metabolism in endometriotic stromal cells and these changes are akin to changes previously seen in tumor and stem cells. In addition, lesion stromal cells appear to have changes in the expression of proteins that are associated with increased invasiveness and survival of cells. Our results propose novel candidates for future studies to see whether targeting these proteins could affect the course of the illness. In the second part of our work, we analyzed secreted proteins from uterine cells to find biomarkers for improving the success rates of IVF. As a result of our study, we found that the uterine secretome contains proteins that reflect the embryo receptivity status of the endometrium. Our results also underlined that women with recurrent implantation failure in IVF have altered uterine secretomes. The proposed biomarker panel of our study can be developed into a diagnostic test that would increase the effectiveness of the IVF procedure and would help to screen for women with pathological uterine receptivity.