The human endometrium undergoes to a complex series of prolifertive and secretory changes in each menstrual cycle and displays only a short period of receptivity, known as the "window of implantation", necessary for the implantation of the blastocyst in the uterus. The implantation process occurs in a sequential manner, leading to the establishment of pregnancy. Morphofunctional changes during this period may prevent or hinder the implantation. For this reason, the study of the endometrium at this stage is important for the improvement of therapies that may interfere with the mechanisms involved in maternal-embryonic interaction. Several gynecological disorders, including polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), are associated with decreased fertility and uterine receptivity. In spite of recent advances in assisted reproduction techniques, allowing the selection of high quality embryos, the implantation rate remains low and has not increased enough in recent decades. This article aims at reviewing the endometrial aspects of the "window of implantation" in women with polycystic ovary syndrome, focusing mainly on adhesion molecules. For that purpose, we analyzed 105 articles published in journals indexed in PubMed in the last 50 years (up to May 2011). In conclusion, the endometrial receptivity seems to be the major limiting factor for the establishment of pregnancy in a large number of gynecological diseases, including PCOS, and treatment to improve implantation rates is likely to be taken towards this direction.
Endometrium; embryo implantation; cell adhesion molecules; infertility, female