Dynamic states of cervical epithelia during pregnancy and epithelial barrier disruption

Anne Cooley, Shanmuga Priyaa Madhukaran, Elizabeth Stroebele, Mariano Colon Caraballo, Lei Wang, Yucel Akgul, Gary C. Hon, Mala Mahendroo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The cervical epithelium undergoes changes in proliferation, differentiation, and function that are critical to ensure fertility and maintain pregnancy. Here, we identify cervical epithelial subtypes in non-pregnant, pregnant, and in labor mice using single-cell transcriptome and spatial analysis. We identify heterogeneous subpopulations of epithelia displaying spatial and temporal specificity. Notably in pregnancy, two goblet cell subtypes are present in the most luminal layers with one goblet population expanding earlier in pregnancy than the other goblet population. The goblet populations express novel protective factors and distinct mucosal networks. Single-cell analysis in a model of cervical epithelial barrier disruption indicates untimely basal cell proliferation precedes the expansion of goblet cells with diminished mucosal integrity. These data demonstrate how the cervical epithelium undergoes continuous remodeling to maintain dynamic states of homeostasis in pregnancy and labor, and provide a framework to understand perturbations in epithelial health that increase the risk of premature birth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105953
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 17 2023


  • Biological sciences
  • Genetics
  • Genomics
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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