Luteal phase


This is the phase of the menstrual cycle which follows ovulation. It is characterized by increased production of progesterone with less estrogen which is produced by corpus luteum, hence the name 'luteal'. This phase continues until the next menses. If the menses comes the corpus luteum of menstruation is aborted. If not, it is converted to corpus luteum of pregnancy from the corpus luteum of menstruation. During the phase the progesterone is released to build the site of implantation of the uterus at the decidua so that it can be receptive to the implanting egg when it arrives.

The endometrial cells during secretory phase increase their numbers of secretory organelles so that much more secretion of glycoprotein may be performed. Thus there is an increase in the cell size and also the number of apical mitochondria, Golgi assembly and also an increase in the size of nuclei. More smooth vesicles are observed in the secretory cells than the proliferative cells.

Decidual changes occur in implantation of an embryo if pregnancy occurs. The endometrial epithelial cell increase in size. Their organelles also increase in size and they develop numerous lysosomes to aid in the digestion of organelles and the autolysis of cells, thereby allowing the embryonic placenta to invade the maternal deciduas. The cells at this stage are also joined by tight and gap junctions.



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