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Three-dimensional structure micelles of heparin-poloxamer improve the therapeutic effect of 17β-estradiol on endometrial regeneration for intrauterine adhesions in a rat model

Authors Zhang S, Xia W, Xu J, Xu H, Lu C, Zhao Y, Wu X

Received 16 March 2017

Accepted for publication 23 May 2017

Published 7 August 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 5643—5657


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Linlin Sun

Si-Si Zhang,1,* Wei-Ting Xia,1,* Jie Xu,2 He-Lin Xu,2 Cui-Tao Lu,2 Ying-Zheng Zhao,2,* Xue-Qing Wu1,*

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, People’s Republic of China; 2School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou City, Zhejiang, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Intrauterine adhesions (IUA) frequently occur after infectious or mechanical injury to the endometrium, which may lead to infertility and/or pregnancy complications. There are few effective treatments due to the complex function of endometrium and shortage of native materials. 17β-estradiol (E2) is commonly used as an ancillary treatment in IUA patients, but it is limited by its poor solubility in aqueous solutions and low concentrations at the injured sites. In this research, a mini-endometrial curette was used to injure the rat’s endometrium to form an IUA model. 17β-estradiol was encapsulated into the micelles of heparin-poloxamer and a thermosensitive hydrogel (E2-HP hydrogel) was formed. This sustained releasing system was applied to restore the structure and function of the injured uterus. E2-HP hydrogel was constructed and relevant characteristics including gelation temperature and micromorphology were evaluated. Sustained release of 17β-estradiol from HP hydrogel was performed both in vitro and in vivo. Ultrasonography measurement and pathologic characteristics on the IUA rats were performed to evaluate the therapeutic effect of E2-HP hydrogel. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-related apoptosis was analyzed to explore the possible mechanisms in IUA recovery. E2-HP hydrogel showed a prolonged release of E2 at the targeting region and more effective endometrium regeneration in IUA rats. Significant improvements in both gland numbers and fibrosis area were observed in the E2-HP hydrogel group. We also demonstrated that E2-HP hydrogel in the recovery of IUA was closely related to the suppression of ER stress signals via the activation of downstream signals, PI3K/Akt and ERK1/2. HP hydrogel might be an effective approach to deliver E2 into the injured endometrium. Therapeutic strategies targeting ER stress using E2-HP hydrogel might be a promising solution for the treatment of women with intrauterine adhesions.

Keywords: intrauterine adhesions, 17β-estradiol, heparin-poloxamer hydrogel, endometrium regeneration, endoplasmic reticulum stress

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