Early steps of embryo implantation are regulated by exchange of extracellular vesicles between the embryo and the endometrium

Joanna Szuszkiewicz, Kamil Myszczynski, Zaneta P. Reliszko, Yael Heifetz, Monika M. Kaczmarek*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In early pregnancy, as the embryo arrives in the uterus, intensive communication between the embryo and uterus begins. Hundreds of molecules are known to be involved, but despite numerous findings, full understanding of the complexity of the embryo–maternal dialog remains elusive. Recently, extracellular vesicles, nanoparticles able to transfer functionally active cargo between cells, have emerged as important players in cell–cell communication, and as such, they have gained great attention over the past decade also in reproductive biology. Here, we use a domestic animal model (Sus scrofa) with an epitheliochorial, superficial type of placentation because of its advantage in studding uterine luminal fluid extracellular vesicles. We show that during early pregnancy, the uterine lumen is abundant with extracellular vesicles that carry a plethora of miRNAs able to target genes involved in embryonic and organismal development. These extracellular vesicles, upon the delivery to primary trophoblast cells, affect genes governing development as well as cell-to-cell signaling and interactions, consequently having an impact on trophoblast cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. We conclude that the exchange of a unique population of extracellular vesicles and their molecular cargo at the maternal–embryo interface is the key to the success of embryo implantation and pregnancy.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere22450
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. The FASEB Journal published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.


  • embryo
  • extracellular vesicles
  • implantation
  • invasion
  • miRNA
  • migration
  • pregnancy
  • proliferation
  • transcriptome
  • trophoblast


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