The endometrium (also known as the mucosal layer or membrane) is the innermost layer of the uterus. It is composed of the epithelial layer and cell-rich connective tissue layer (lamina propria). Functionally, the epithelial layer of the endometrium can be divided into two layers:
- The basal layer - is composed mainly of stem cells that serve to regenerate the functional layer.
- The functional layer - is adjacent to the uterine cavity and is lined by a single layer of columnar epithelium. The thickness of this layer changes during the menstrual cycle (under the influence of estrogen and progesterone) in order to prepare the endometrium to host an embryo. If this doesn't happen, the functional layer sheds during menstruation. However, if pregnancy occurs, the endometrium becomes a thick blood vessel-rich, glandular tissue layer.
The main function of the endometrium is to prepare the optimal environment for the implantation of the embryo. In addition, this layer prevents the adhesions between the opposed walls of the myometrium and maintains the patency of the uterine cavity.
English synonym: Mucous membrane of uterus
Latin synonym: Tunica mucosa uteri
|Innermost layer of uterus
|Basal layer and functional layer
|Providing the optimal environment for the implementation of the embryo, maintaining the patency of uterus
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