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New insights into decidualization: immunological and genetic factors.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Nowadays, there are many efforts focused on improving embryo quality for assisted reproduction treatments. Nevertheless, there are important maternal aspects, such as decidualization, also essential for pregnancy, often forgotten. With this review, we intend to highlight the main events involved in this endometrial phenomenon, as well as the cells and molecules that have recently been related to it.

RECENT FINDINGS: Decidualization entails a complete transformation of the endometrium, with recent research reaffirming progesterone as its main molecular trigger. Certain immune components and membrane molecules have also been found to play a role in it, notably the killer immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) of uterine natural killer (uNK) cells, as well as the human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-F.

SUMMARY: Progesterone directs the cellular changes that take place during decidualization, as well as the recruitment and maturation of uNKs, along with the coordinated action of interleukin-15. Likewise, the role of KIR and HLA-F in this process and in the subsequent development of pregnancy is being highlighted in many studies, with effects on reproductive outcomes related to the different genotypes of these molecules.

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