Histological and Gene Expression Analysis of the Effects of Menopause Status and Hormone Therapy on the Vaginal Introitus and Labia Majora

Robert L. Binder, Murray A. Freedman, Kailash B. Sharma, Miranda A. Farage, Yu Wang, Chelsea Combs, David Moore, Jay P. Tiesman, Charles C. Bascom, Robert J. Isfort, Raphael Warren


Background: The study aimed to determine the effect of menopausal status and hormone therapy on the introitus and labia majora at the levels of histology and gene expression.

Methods: Three cohorts of 10 women each (pre-menopause, post-menopause and post-menopause + hormone therapy) were selected based on the presentation of clinical atrophy and vaginal pH. Biopsies were obtained from the introitus (fourchette) and labia majora and processed for histology and gene expression analyses with microarrays. Other data collected included self-assessed symptoms, serum estradiol, testosterone, serum hormone binding globulin and the pH of the vagina and labia majora.

Results: The introitus appears exquisitely sensitive to hormone status. Dramatic changes were observed in histology including a thinning of the epithelium in post-menopausal subjects with vaginal atrophy. Furthermore, there was differential expression of many genes that may contribute to tissue remodeling in the atrophic introitus. Levels of expression of genes associated with wound healing, angiogenesis, cell migration/locomotion, dermal structure, apoptosis, inflammation, epithelial cell differentiation, fatty acid, carbohydrate and steroid metabolism were significantly different in the cohort exhibiting atrophy of the introitus. While changes were also observed at the labia, that site was considerably less sensitive to hormone status. The gene expression changes observed at the introitus in this study were very similar to those reported previously in the atrophic vagina providing further evidence that these changes are associated with atrophy.

Conclusions: The histological and gene expression changes occurring within the introitus after menopause may contribute to the constellation of symptoms that constitute the genitourinary syndrome of menopause.

J Clin Med Res. 2019;11(11):745-759
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/jocmr4006


Menopause; Atrophy; Introitus; Labia majora; Vagina; Histology; Gene expression

Full Text: HTML PDF




Home     |     Log In     |      About     |      Search     |      Current     |      Archives     |      Submit      |     Subscribe

Aims and Scope

Current Issues

Conflict of Interest

About Publisher

Editorial Board



Company Profile

Editorial Office

Misconduct and Retraction


Company Registration

Contact Us

Abstracting and Indexing



Instructions to Authors


Declaration of Helsinki

Contact Publisher

Submission Checklist


Terms of Use

Company Address

Submit a Manuscript

Open Access Policy

Privacy Policy

Browse Journals

Publishing Fee

Publishing Policy


Recent Highlights

Peer-Review Process

Publishing Quality

Code of Ethics

Advertising Policy

Manuscript Tracking

Advanced Search

For Librarians


Publishing Process

Publication Frequency

For Reviewers

Propose a New Journal


Journal of Clinical Medicine Research, monthly, ISSN 1918-3003 (print), 1918-3011 (online), published by Elmer Press Inc.        
The content of this site is intended for health care professionals.
This is an open-access journal distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted
non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Creative Commons Attribution license (Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International CC-BY-NC 4.0)

This journal follows the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommendations for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals,
the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines, and the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing.

website: www.jocmr.org   editorial contact: editor@jocmr.org
Address: 9225 Leslie Street, Suite 201, Richmond Hill, Ontario, L4B 3H6, Canada

© Elmer Press Inc. All Rights Reserved.