Background: Recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) is associated with the loss of endometrial mesenchymal stem-like progenitor cells (eMSC). DPP4 inhibitors may increase homing and engraftment of bone marrow-derived cells to sites of tissue injury. Here, we evaluated the effect of the DPP4 inhibitor sitagliptin on eMSC in women with RPL, determined the impact on endometrial decidualization, and assessed the feasibility of a full-scale clinical trial. Methods: A double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled feasibility trial on women aged 18 to 42 years with a history of 3 or more miscarriages, regular menstrual cycles, and no contraindications to sitagliptin. Thirty-eight subjects were randomised to either 100 mg sitagliptin daily for 3 consecutive cycles or identical placebo capsules. Computer generated, permuted block randomisation was used to allocate treatment packs. Colony forming unit (CFU) assays were used to quantify eMSC in midluteal endometrial biopsies. The primary outcome measure was CFU counts. Secondary outcome measures were endometrial thickness, study acceptability, and first pregnancy outcome within 12 months following the study. Tissue samples were subjected to explorative investigations. Findings: CFU counts following sitagliptin were higher compared to placebo only when adjusted for baseline CFU counts and age (RR: 1.52, 95% CI: 1.32–1.75, P<0.01). The change in CFU count was 1.68 in the sitagliptin group and 1.08 in the placebo group. Trial recruitment, acceptability, and drug compliance were high. There were no serious adverse events. Explorative investigations showed that sitagliptin inhibits the expression of DIO2, a marker gene of senescent decidual cells. Interpretation: Sitagliptin increases eMSCs and decreases decidual senescence. A large-scale clinical trial evaluating the impact of preconception sitagliptin treatment on pregnancy outcome in RPL is feasible and warranted. Funding: Tommy's Baby Charity. Clinical trial registration: EU Clinical Trials Register no. 2016-001120-54.
- Endometrium stem cells
- Randomised clinical trial