Dr Anthony Taylor

Personal Details

Department: Molecular and Cell Biology
: +44 (0)116 373 6209
: aht13@le.ac.uk
Address: University Rd, Leicester, LE1 7RH 
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After completing his PhD in Clinical Medicine at St George’s Hospital Medical School (University of London), under the supervision of the eminent endocrinologists Prof. John Jenkins FRS, and Prof. Stephen Nussey, Dr Taylor moved to Canada to undertake postdoctoral studies in the hormonal control of atherosclerosis at the Health Sciences Center in Calgary. He then returned to the UK to undertake postdoctoral studies into gene therapy in the uterus before obtaining a faculty appointment in the Obstetrics & Gynaecology Department at Leicester Medical School, under the mentorships of Profs Steve Bell, David Taylor and Justin Konje. After a very productive faculty position in the Reproductive Sciences Section at Leicester University, Dr Taylor moved to a teaching post at Nottingham Trent University, where he taught Clinical Biochemistry, and Molecular and Cellular Biology, at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level. He returned to Leicester to start teaching on the ‘MBChB’ and the ‘Biological Sciences with Foundation year’ courses in March 2016.


  • Biological Sciences


  1. Taylor, A.H., Melford, S.M., Konje, J.C. (2012) Clinical chemistry in pregnancy. Encyclopedia of Life Sciences In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net
  2. Gebeh, A.K., Willets, J.M., Marczylo, E.L., Taylor, A.H. & Konje, J.C. (2012) Ectopic pregnancy is associated with high anandamide levels and aberrant expression of FAAH and CB1 in Fallopian tubes. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab.97: 2827-2835.
  3. Ayakannu, T., Taylor, A.H., Willets, J.M., Konje, J.C. (2013) The endocannabinoid system and sex steroid hormone-dependent cancers. Intl. J. Endocrinol. Article ID 259676, 14 pages.
  4. Gebeh, A.K., Willets, J.M., Marczylo, E.L., Taylor, A.H. & Konje, J.C. (2013) Elevated anandamide and related N-acylethanolamine levels occur in the peripheral blood of women with ectopic pregnancy and are mirrored by changes in peripheral fatty acid amide hydrolase activity. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 98: 1226-1234.
  5. Bakali, E., Elliott R.A., Taylor, A.H., Willets J.M., Konje, J.C. & Tincello, D.G. (2013) Distribution and function of the endocannabinoid system in the rat and human bladder. Int. Urogynecol. J. 24: 855-863.
  6. Amoako, A.A., Marczylo, T.H., Marczylo, E.L., Elson, J., Willets, J.M., Taylor, A.H. & Konje, J.C. (2013) Anandamide inhibits human sperm motility through cannabinoid receptor (CB1) activation: Implications for men with asthenozoospermia and oligoasthenoteratozoospermia. Hum. Reprod. 28: 2058-2066.
  7. Elliott, R.A., Tonnu, A., Ghaffar,  N.,  Taylor, A.H., Tincello, D.G., & Norman, R.I. (2013) Enhanced purinergic contractile responses and P2X1 receptor expression in detrusor muscle during cycles of hypoxia-glucopenia and reoxygenation. Exp. Physiol. 98: 1683-1695.
  8. Melford, S.M., Taylor, A.H., Konje, J.C. (2014) Of mice and (wo)men: factors influencing successful implantation. Human Reproduction Update 20: 415-428.
  9. Taylor, A.H., Kalathy, V. & Habiba, M.A. (2014). Estradiol and tamoxifen enhance invasion of endometrial stromal cells in a three-dimensional co-culture model of adenomyosis. Fert. Steril. 101: 288-293.
  10. Karasu, T., Marczylo, T.H., Marczylo, E.L., Taylor, A.H., Omoto, E. & Konje, J.C. (2014) The effect of mifepristone (RU486) on the endocannabinoid system in human plasma and first-trimester trophoblast of women undergoing termination of pregnancy. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 99: 871-880.
  11. Bakali, E., Elliott, R.A., Taylor, A.H., Lambert, D.G., Willets, J.M. & Tincello, D.G. (2014) Human urothelial cell lines as potential models for studying cannabinoid and excitatory receptor interactions in the urinary bladder. Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Arch. Pharmacol. 387: 581-589.
  12. Varga, A., Jenes, A., Marczylo, T.H., Sousa-Valente, J., Chen, J., Austin, J., Selvarajah, S., Piscitelli, F., Andreou, A.P., Taylor, A.H.,  Kyle, F., Yaqoob, M.,  Brain, S., White J.P.M.,  Csernoch, L., Di Marzo, V., Buluwela, L. & Nagy, I. (2014) Anandamide produced by Ca2+-insensitive enzymes induces excitation in primary sensory neurons.Pflügers Archiv. – Eur. J. Physiol. 466: 1421-1435.
  13. Amoako, A.A., Marczylo, T.H., Elson, J., Taylor, A.H., Willets, J.M. & Konje, J.C. (2014) The relationship between seminal plasma levels of the anandamide congeners palmityolethanolamide and oleoylethanolamide and semen quality. Fert. Steril. 102: 1260-1267.
  14. Taylor, A.H. & Habiba M.A. (2015) The myometrium in health and disease. In: Uterine Adenomyosis. Eds. Habiba, M.A. & Benagiano, G. Springer, New York, USA. Chapter 4, pp. 71-79.
  15. Ayakannu, T., Taylor, A.H., Willets, J.M., Konje, J.C. (2015) The evolving role of the endocannabinoid system in gynaecological cancer. Hum. Reprod. Update 21: 517-535.
  16. Ayakannu, T., Taylor, A.H., Willets, J.M., Brown, L., Lambert, D.G., McDonald, J., Davies, Q., Moss, E.C. & Konje, J.C. (2015) Validation of endogenous control reference genes for normalizing gene expression studies in endometrial cancer. Mol. Hum. Reprod. 21: 723-735.
  17. Ayakannu, T., Hew, W.S.R., Brown, L., Ismail, S., Maulik, T.G., Kiberu, S.W. & Taylor, A.H. (2015) Florid endocervical microglandular hyperplasia in association with tamoxifen treatment.  J. Cytol. Histol. 6:6.
  18. Ayakannu, T., Taylor, A.H. & Konje, J.C. (2017) Optimisation of uniplex and duplex reactions is not required for real-time PCR amplification of target genes in endometrial cancer. Insights Obstet. Gynecol. 1:5.1

Submitted manuscripts

  1. Ayakannu, T., Taylor, A.H., Marczylo, T.H. & Konje, J.C. (2017) The pathogenesis of uterine leiomyoma: New insights from the endocannabinoid system. Reprod. Sci. (submitted).
  2. Philip, S., Taylor, A.H., Konje, J.C. & Habiba, M.A. (2017) Levonorgestrel intrauterine device induces endometrial decidualisation in women on tamoxifen. Fertil & Steril. (submitted).

Manuscripts in revision

  1. Ayakannu, T., Taylor, A.H., Marczylo, T.H., Brown, L., Maccarrone, M. & Konje, J.C. (2017) Identification of predictive biomarkers for endometrial malignancies: N-acylethanolamines. Br. Med. J. (in revision).
  2. Ayakannu, T., Taylor, A.H., Bari, M., Mastrangelo, N., Maccarrone, M. & Konje, J.C. (2017) Expression and function of the endocannabinoid modulating enzymes fatty acid amide hydrolase and N-acylphosphatidylethanolamine-specific phospholipase D in endometrial carcinoma. Br. Med. J. (in revision).
  3. Ayakannu, T., Taylor, A.H. Konje, J.C. (2017) Cannabinoid receptor expression in estrogen-dependent and estrogen-independent endometrial cancer. Endocrine Connections (in revision).

Manuscripts in preparation

  1. Ayakannu, T., Taylor, A.H. & Konje, J.C. (2018) A potential role for the putative cannabinoid receptor GPR55 in the aetiopathology of endometrial cancer. Gynaecol. Oncol. (in preparation).
  2. Mehasseb, M.K., Taylor, A.H., Bell, S.C., Pringle, J.H. & Habiba, M.A. (2018) Comparison of the inner and outer myometrium in normal adult human uteri demonstrates differential phenotypes consistent with distinct embryonic origins. Mol. Hum. Reprod. (in preparation).
  3. Taylor, A.H., Hawes, M.A., Mehasseb, M.K., Kalathy, V. & Habiba, M.A. (2018) Neurotrophic growth factor and its cognate receptors are down regulated in adenomyotic myometrium in a menstrual cycle phase-independent manner. Fert. Steril. (in preparation).
  4. Taylor, A.H., Fonseca B.M., Correia-da-Silva G., & Teixeira N.A. (2018) The endocannabinoid, anandamide, affects rat decidual cell function at the transcriptional level by altering the vasculogenesis, inflammation and receptor tyrosine kinase pathways. Reproduction (in preparation).
  5. Taylor A.H., Abbas, M.A. & Konje, J.C. (2018) D9-tetrahydrocannabinol and anandamide inhibit 1st and 3rd trimester trophoblast growth via the cannabinoid type 2 receptor. Mol. Hum. Reprod. (in preparation).
  6. Taylor, A.H., Wahab, M., Pringle, J.H., Thompson, J.R. & Al-Azzawi, F. (2018) Trimegestone, progesterone and mifepristone produce differential effects on HOXA11 expression in oestradiol-primed endometrial stromal cell cultures. Reprod. Sci. (in preparation).
  7. Taylor, A.H., Panchal, R., Philip, S. & Habiba, M.A. (2018) Tamoxifen activates oestrogen-specific, non-specific and tamoxifen-unique pathways in the human uterus. Endocr. Related Cancer (in preparation).


The role of the endocannabinoid system in reproductive disorders

The endocannabinoid system consists of the ‘classical’ cannabinoid receptors that respond to the psychoactive ingredients in the marijuana plant ‘Cannabis sativa’, the endogenous ligands that bind to those receptors and their non-classical G-protein coupled receptor counterparts, the enzymes that regulate the concentrations of those ligands and an, as yet, unidentified ligand transporter. This new ‘hormone system’ has pleiotropic effects, but is increasingly recognised as being essential to human reproduction. Perturbation of the system results in diverse disease, such as anovulation and other ovarian disorders, IVF and embryo implantation failure, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, small for gestational age babies, and preterm birth. Spermatogenesis and male fertility are also affected, indicating a key role for the endocannabinoid system in male reproduction. Furthermore, dysregulated endocannabinoid signalling results in gynaecological neoplasia and life-threatening cancers. Projects typically investigate the interaction between the endocannabinoid system and the molecular mechanisms triggering disruption of these processes in reproductive diseases.

The aetiopathology of adenomyosis and endometriosis

Adenomyosis and endometriosis are uterine-specific diseases where structures of the inner lining (endometrium) are found in other sites around the body. In the case of adenomyosis, the endometrial tissue is retained within the muscle layer of the uterus (myometrium) whilst in endometriosis it is usually found in the peritoneal cavity. In both cases, perceived pain is so great that patients are often incapacitated for days on end and need opiate analgesia. We are interested in identifying the molecules that cause disease and how the cells involved interact to promote pain. Recent work utilising Agilent microarray analysis and SELDI-ToF proteomics has identified clusters of genes and proteins whose expression level are modulated by adenomyosis-derived tissue. The next step is to try and determine if those genes and proteins are the cause or effect of the disease, and if they can be used as biomarkers of disease or the target of potential novel therapies.

The interaction between biophysical stretch and sex hormones in parturition

Babies that are born prematurely (also known as preterm birth) often die shortly after birth or have severe morbidities, such as cerebral palsy, deafness, blindness or learning difficulties and/or breathing and digestive tract failures. Delaying the birthing process (parturition) by only 7 days can prevent many of these effects. During parturition, there is a switch in the actions of the pro-pregnancy hormone progesterone to that of oestradiol, which prepares the muscle of the womb to become sensitive to other molecules that cause it to contract and so start the process of labour. At about the same time, the endocannabinoid system, the hormones that regulate that system and receptors for progesterone all change in the membranes that surround the fetus and those membranes rupture. Response of these systems can be affected by not only infection and/or inflammation but also by biophysical stretch induced by fetal growth and movement. We are investigating the relationship between the expression of genes caused by the progesterone to oestradiol switch and those induced by biophysical stretch in the hope of generating new targets to prevent this devastating disease.

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

T: +44(0)116 229 7038
E: MolCellBiol@le.ac.uk

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