The cell surface mucin MUC-1 is present in endometrial epithelial cells and their associated apical glycocalyx and is also released into gland lumens as a secretory product. MUC-1 mRNA and core protein are found at low levels in the proliferative phase of the cycle, but their abundance increases after ovulation. Endometrial MUC-1 has been found to carry sialokeratan sulphate chains and these show a dramatically increased abundance in cells and secretions in the post-ovulatory phase of the cycle, reaching a maximum in secretions 6-7 days after the LH peak. The apical epithelium also contains adhesion receptor molecules of the integrin and CD44 families. MUC-1 is large and highly glycosylated and probably extends farther from the cell surface than these 'conventional' glycoprotein receptors. It has the potential to inhibit sterically receptor-mediated cell-cell adhesion. However, it is also possible that MUC-1 displays specific (e.g., glycan) recognition structures for the initial attachment of the blastocyst or that the embryo may create a specialised microenvironment in which to implant.