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expert reaction to the development of a human reproductive tract and menstrual cycle in a dish

Scientists publishing in Nature Communications report that they have developed a mini working replica of the female reproductive tract using human and mouse tissue.


Prof. Jan Brosens, Chair of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Warwick, said:

“This is genuinely a remarkable technical achievement that – for the first time – enables integrated analysis of reproductive hormones on different target tissues in a dynamic system. I am entirely confident that this novel technology represents a step-change in our ability to pinpoint defects that cause infertility and early pregnancy loss. However, it is not a system that can recapitulate all the specialised functions of the reproductive tract or replace IVF.”


Dr Channa Jayasena, Clinical Senior Lecturer & Consultant in Reproductive Endocrinology, Imperial College London, & member of the Society for Endocrinology, said:

“The authors have tried to ‘shrink down’ the reproductive functions of a mouse into what looks like a microchip. The chip contains several small chambers each containing living eggs or other reproductive tissues which are connected with a network of fluid. The microchip seems to contain a monthly cycle of hormonal activity which is similar to the menstrual cycle in women. The results are exciting and represent an important innovation. However, we must remember that the rodent and human reproductive systems have important differences.”


* ‘A microfluidic culture model of the human reproductive tract and 28-day menstrual cycle’ by Xiao et al. published in Nature Communications on Tuesday 28 March.


Declared interests

Prof. Jan Brosens: No conflicts of interest

Dr Channa Jayasena: No conflicts of interest

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