BIOREC PhD Project 2: Influence of steroid hormones on canine endometrial cells in a three dimensional in vitro system.

PhD student: Cordula BARTEL 1, Anatomy, Histology and Embryology  2

Supervisors: Ingrid WALTER 3, Christine AURICH 4

Abstract: Several aspects of function and dysfunction in reproductive organs have to be studied in experimental approaches. However, tests on living animals - though important in veterinary medicine - are limited due to ethical reasons and high costs, especially with domesticated animals such as dogs, cows, and horses. Moreover, effect mechanisms and effects of single factors to specific cells or tissues often can only be studied in cell culture systems. Three-dimensional cell and tissue culture systems with fully differentiated cells are suitable to mimic complex in vivo situations but have rarely been established for veterinary applications to date. Although cell culture models cannot fully replace clinical studies or studies on living animals, they give valuable information and therefore, the expenditure of establishing three-dimensional in vitro models is strongly justified. This research aims to establish a three-dimensional culture system with fully differentiated cells focusing on canine female reproductive organs, endometria in particular, and examine their applicability for experimental approaches. The main focus is to study the influence of steroid hormones (estrogen and progesterone) on the cultured glandular explants (e.g. morphology, proliferation, secretory activity, steroid hormone receptors) to mimic the cyclic events in the native endometrium and study the molecular basis of normal reproduction. Furthermore, the three dimensional cell culture system will be used to examine mechanisms of disorders in reproductive organs and to establish screening assays of substances that influence reproduction (endocrine disruptors).


Cordula BARTEL, Mag. rer. nat.

Anatomy, Histology and Embryology
Department for Pathobiology

Working hypothesis: Canine endometrial cells in a three dimensional culture system represent a sensitive and practicable in vitro model for the detection of sex steroid hormones and their modes of action.