Uterine architecture: building the foundation for a healthy pregnancy

50 Years Ago Today

Volume 109, Issue 3, Page 452


Eve C. Feinberg, M.D.


“The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see.”

— Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

The March 1968 issue of Fertility and Sterility contains the article, “Protein nutrition and the biochemical composition of the uterus” (1. In this article, Leathem et al. (1 discuss the correlation between undernutrition, decreased fertility, increased menstrual irregularities and reduction in estrogen levels. The etiology was believed to be a reduction in ovarian function with subsequent downstream effect on the uterus. The authors hypothesized that uterine composition could be modified by protein malnutrition. To answer this question, they altered the diet of normal adult rats and fed the experimental group a protein-free diet for 21 days. In doing so they were able to document a decrease in uterine weight as well as a decrease in total protein, RNA and DNA. Interestingly, replacement levels of estrogen and progesterone failed to prevent the nutritional effects on the uterus. They then ovarectomized the mice and compared the impact of estrogen replacement between protein-rich and protein-free diet groups. The protein-rich diet group had a greater increase in uterine weight compared to the protein-free group demonstrating that uterine composition could be altered by protein composition of the diet.

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