Endometriosis (EM) is one of the most common diseases which severely affect the health and reproductive function of women of childbearing age. There are fundamental abnormal changes within the eutopic endometrium of women with endometriosis compared to normal endometrium of women without endometriosis. Eutopic endometrium shows enhanced ability of proliferation, implantation and angiogenesis, and greater probability of escaping the unfavorable conditions of the ectopic environment. Therefore, the character of eutopic endometrium determines the fate of the backward-flowing endometrial tissue – to live or to die. The abnormal endometrial tissue in EM patients flows backward to the pelvic cavity, completing a 3-step procedure of pathogenesis (attachment-aggression-angiogenesis), and ultimately develops into EM. Abnormal eutopic endometrium may also play important roles in endometriosis-associated infertility. This recognition regarding the pathogenesis of endometriosis ultimately will help to discover new methods for diagnosis and treatment. Endometrial markers for micro-invasive diagnosis and direct treatment of eutopic endometrium as the origin of the disease should be further investigated.
endometriosis; eutopic endometrium; pathogenesis; diagnosis; treatment
Nurses often encounter patients with chronic pelvic pain associated with endometriosis, which is a puzzling and problematic gynecologic condition that has continued to plague women and baffle doctors and researchers worldwide since it was first identified by Dr. J. Sampson in the 1920s (Sampson, 1940). Endometriosis is defined as the growth, adhesion and progression of endometrial glands and stroma outside of the uterine cavity, with cellular activity evident in lesions, nodules, cysts or endometriomas (Audebert et al., 1992). Although it typically appears benign on histopathology, endometriosis has been likened to a malignant tumor since the lesions grow, infiltrate and adhere to adjacent tissues and interfere with physiologic processes (Kitawaki et al., 2002; Noble, Simpson, Johns, & Bulun, 1996). Ectopic endometriotic growths respond to cyclic changes of estrogen and proliferate and shed in a manner similar to eutopic endometrium. This cyclic ectopic activity results in internal bleeding, formation of scar tissue, inflammation and sometimes debilitating chronic pain (Kitawaki et al.).
PMID: 18837717 CAMSID: cams575
Whether environmental toxicants impact an individual woman’s risk for developing endometriosis remains uncertain. Although the growth of endometrial glands and stroma at extra-uterine sites is associated with retrograde menstruation, our studies suggest that reduced responsiveness to progesterone may increase the invasive capacity of endometrial tissue in women with endometriosis. Interestingly, our recent studies using isolated human endometrial cells in short-term culture suggest that experimental exposure to the environmental contaminant 2,3,7,8-tetracholorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) can alter the expression of progesterone receptor isotypes. Compared to adult exposure, toxicant exposure during development can exert a significantly greater biological impact, potentially affecting the incidence of endometriosis in adults. To address this possibility, we exposed mice to TCDD at critical developmental time points and subsequently examined uterine progesterone receptor expression and steroid responsive transforming growth factor-β2 expression in adult animals. We find that the uterine phenotype of toxicant-exposed mice is markedly similarly to the endometrial phenotype of women with endometriosis.
Dioxin; TCDD; Progesterone; Progesterone receptor; TGF-β2; Endometrium; Endometriosis; Development; Fetal origin
Endometriosis is a gynecological disease defined by the histological presence of endometrial glands and stroma outside the uterine cavity. Women with endometriosis have an increased risk of different types of malignancies, especially ovarian cancer and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Though there are several theories, researchers remain unsure as to the definitive cause of endometriosis. Our objective was to test the validity of the theory of müllerianosis for endometriosis, that is the misplacing of primitive endometrial tissue along the migratory pathway of foetal organogenesis
We have collected at autopsy 36 human female foetuses at different gestational age. We have performed a morphological and immunohistochemical study (expression of oestrogen receptor and CA125) on the pelvic organs of the 36 foetuses included en-block and totally analyzed.
In 4 out of 36 foetuses we found presence of misplaced endometrium in five different ectopic sites: in the recto-vaginal septum, in the proximity of the Douglas pouch, in the mesenchimal tissue close to the posterior wall of the uterus, in the rectal tube at the level of muscularis propria, and in the wall of the uterus. All these sites are common location of endometriosis in women.
We propose that a cause of endometriosis is the dislocation of primitive endometrial tissue outside the uterine cavity during organogenesis.
HOX genes, encoding homeodomain transcription factors, are dynamically expressed in endometrium, where they are necessary for endometrial growth, differentiation, and implantation. In human endometrium, the expression of HOXA10 and HOXA11 is driven by sex steroids, with peak expression occurring at time of implantation in response to rising progesterone levels. However, the maximal HOXA10 and HOXA11 expression fails to occur in women with endometriosis. In endometriosis, altered progesterone receptor expression or diminished activity may lead to attenuated or dysregulated progesterone response and decreased expression of progesterone-responsive genes including HOX genes in the eutopic endometrium. In turn, other mediators of endometrial receptivity that are regulated by HOX genes, such as pinopodes, αvβ3 integrin, and IGFBP-1, are downregulated in endometriosis. HOXA10 hypermethylation has recently been demonstrated to silence HOXA10 gene expression and account for decreased HOXA10 in the endometrium of women with endometriosis. Silencing of progesterone target genes by methylation is an epigenetic mechanism that mediates progesterone resistance. The relatively permanent nature of methylation may explain the widespread failure of treatments for endometriosis-related infertility.
HOX genes; implantation; endometrium; endometriosis
The eutopic endometrium in women with endometriosis demonstrates diminished endometrial receptivity and altered gene expression. It is unknown if the endometrium being defective gives rise to a predisposition toward endometriosis and infertility or, alternatively, if endometriosis causes the altered endometrial receptivity. Here we created experimental endometriosis in mice and examined the expression of several markers of endometrial receptivity in the eutopic endometrium. Methylation of Hoxa10 was also evaluated as a potential mechanism responsible for altered gene expression. Expression of each gene was measured using quantitative real-time RT-PCR at 14 wk after induction of endometriosis. Expression of Hoxa10 and Hoxa11, which are necessary for endometrial receptivity, were decreased in the endometriosis group. Insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 (Igfbp1) mRNA was decreased in the endometriosis group. However, there was no change in Integrin beta3 (Itgb3) mRNA expression. Total progesterone receptor (Pgr-AB) was increased in the endometriosis group and the ratio of Pgr-B to Pgr-AB was increased, indicating a shift from Pgr-A to Pgr-B expression. Basic transcription element-binding protein-1 (Bteb1), official symbol and name Klf9, Kruppel-like factor 9, which functionally interacts with Pgr in endometrium, was also decreased in the endometriosis group. In addition, hypermethylation of Hoxa10 in the endometriosis group was shown by methylation-specific PCR and confirmed by bisulfite sequencing. These findings demonstrate that normal endometrium, when placed in an ectopic location to create experimental endometriosis, led to characteristic changes in gene expression in eutopic endometrium. These data suggest the existence of a signal conduction pathway from endometriosis that alters endometrial gene expression through altered Pgr signaling and epigenetic programming.
Normal endometrium, when placed in an ectopic location creating experimental endometriosis, leads to characteristic changes in gene expression in eutopic endometrium.
endometriosis; female reproductive tract; gene regulation; Hoxa10; Hoxa11; implantation; methylation; Pgr; uterus
Background: Recent findings strongly promoted the hypothesis that common pelvic gynecological diseases including endometriosis and ovarian neoplasia may develop de novo from ectopic endometrial-like glands and/or embryonic epithelial remnants. To verify the frequency, the anatomical localization and the phenotype of misplaced endometrial tissue along the fetal female reproductive tract, histological and immunohistochemical analyses of uteri, fallopian tubes, and uterosacral ligaments were performed. Methods: Reproductive organs were collected from seven female fetuses at autopsy, five of them from gestational ages between 18 and 26 weeks and two fetuses with gestational ages of 33 and 36 weeks deceased of placental anomalies. Serial sections from areas containing ectopic glands and embryonic duct residues were analyzed by histological and immunohistochemical procedures. Results: Numerous ectopic endometrial glands and stroma were detected in the myometrium in two fetuses with low levels of expression of estrogen receptor-alpha (ER-α) and progesterone receptors (PR). The embryonic ducts were localized in the uterine broad and ovarian ligaments and under the fallopian tube serosa in six fetuses. Low levels of steroid receptors expression were found in the embryonic residues, whereas the carcino-embryonic antigen (CEA) and the tumor marker Ca 125 were not detected. The embryonic residues stromal component strongly expressed the CD 10 and vimentin proteins. Conclusion: The anatomical and the immunohistochemical features of the ectopic organoid structures identified in fetal female reproductive tract suggest that endometriotic as well as neoplastic disease in adult women may develop on the basis of misplaced endometrial glands and/or embryonic cell remnants.
fetus; endometriosis; neoplastic process; ectopic glands; immunohistochemistry
Endometriosis is a gynecological disease characterized by the presence of endometrial glandular epithelial and stromal cells growing in the extra-uterine environment. The disease afflicts 10%–15% of menstruating women causing debilitating pain and infertility. Endometriosis appears to affect every part of a woman’s reproductive system including ovarian function, oocyte quality, embryo development and implantation, uterine function and the endocrine system choreographing the reproductive process and results in infertility or spontaneous pregnancy loss. Current treatments are laden with menopausal-like side effects and many cause cessation or chemical alteration of the reproductive cycle, neither of which is conducive to achieving a pregnancy. However, despite the prevalence, physical and psychological tolls and health care costs, a cure for endometriosis has not yet been found. We hypothesize that endometriosis causes infertility via multifaceted mechanisms that are intricately interwoven thereby contributing to our lack of understanding of this disease process. Identifying and understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for endometriosis-associated infertility might help unravel the confounding multiplicities of infertility and provide insights into novel therapeutic approaches and potentially curative treatments for endometriosis.
Endometriosis; Infertility; Ovary; Oocytes and embryos; Endometrium
Following a study in a baboon model of endometriosis, we here describe the morphology of ectopic peritoneal lesions in the human to examine the effects of an ectopic site on glandular structure and function. Ectopic biopsies from 17 women with endometriosis were fixed and processed for electron microscopy. Certain biopsies were also probed for intermediate filaments using immunohistochemistry. Ultrastructurally, lesions showed many different glandular morphologies with indications of delayed maturation compared to normal endometrium. Mesothelium covered some lesions and there was evidence of mesothelial invasion into the stroma. Ectopic endometriotic lesions from women with endometriosis showed ultrastructural differences from eutopic endometrium, with indications that mesothelial invasion may contribute to gland development in some lesions.
Endometriosis; ultrastructure; human; coelomic mesothelium
Identification of mechanisms underlying endometriosis pathogenesis will facilitate understanding and treatment of infertility and pain associated with this disorder. Herein, we investigated the expression of steroidogenic pathway enzymes and key decidualization biomarkers in endometrial tissue and in eutopic endometrial stromal fibroblasts (hESFs) from women with vs. those without endometriosis, and subsequently treated in vitro with 8-bromo-cAMP (8-Br-cAMP) or progesterone (P4). Real-time quantitative PCR, immunohistochemistry, ELISA, and radiometric aromatase activity assay were used. The results demonstrate significantly increased (14.5-fold; P = 0.037) expression of aromatase in eutopic endometrium of women with disease. In 8-Br-cAMP-treated hESF from eutopic endometrium of women with endometriosis, the balance in estradiol (E2) and P4 biosynthetic and metabolizing enzymes is disturbed (decreased HSD3B1 and HSD17B2, and increased HSD17B1 and aromatase), with the equilibrium being shifted towards an E2-enriched milieu. However, hESF from the same group of women treated with P4 did not demonstrate such responsiveness. Lower expression of IGFBP1 and prolactin mRNA and protein was observed in hESF from women with vs. those without endometriosis in response to 8-Br-cAMP, but not P4, suggesting a blunted response of these decidual biomarkers to activation of the PKA pathway in eutopic endometrium in women with disease. The dichotomy of 8-Br-cAMP regulation of select steroidogenic enzymes leading to an enriched E2 milieu within the endometrium and a blunted response of decidual biomarkers to this decidualizing agent of hESF from women with endometriosis suggests resistance to full decidualization of the stromal fibroblasts and mechanisms underlying implantation failure and the pathophysiology of this disorder.
Altered expression of some members of steroidogenic pathway and markers of decidualization in endometrial stromal fibroblasts from women with vs. without endometriosis suggests establishment of altered hormone environment within eutopic endometrium.
endometrial fibroblasts; endometriosis; eutopic endometrium; steroidogenesis
This article presents an overview of immunological factors and their role in the development of endometriosis, with emphasis on inflammatory cytokines, growth and adhesion factors. Although retrograde menstruation is a common phenomenon among women of reproductive age, not all women who have retrograde menstruation develop endometriosis. The development of endometriosis is hypothesised to be a complex process, which may be facilitated by several factors, including the quantity and quality of endometrial cells in peritoneal fluid (PF), increased inflammatory activity in PF, increased endometrial-peritoneal adhesion and angiogenesis, reduced immune surveillance and clearance of endometrial cells, and increased production of autoantibodies against endometrial cells. Potential biomarkers like cytokines and autoantibodies upregulated during development of endometriosis may be useful in the development of a non-surgical diagnostic tool. Although endometriosis can be treated using hormonal suppression, there is need for non-hormonal drugs, which can inhibit the development of endometriosis and alleviate pain or infertility without inhibition of ovulation. New molecules that modulate immune function in endometriosis should be the targets for future research.
Endometriosis is defined as the presence of endometrial tissue outside the uterine cavity and is one of the most common reproductive abnormalities encountered in women as well as Old World primates. The majority of endometriosis cases in Old World primates occur within the abdominal cavity, with spread to extraabdominal sites considered to be a rare event. A 19-year-old multiparous female rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) presented to necropsy for difficulty breathing and weight loss. Grossly, the animal had marked abdominal endometriosis and severe hemoabdomen and hemothorax, the latter of which was accompanied by marked pleural fibrosis. Histologic examination confirmed the abdominal endometriosis and also revealed numerous uterine glands and stroma embedded within the pleural fibrosis. Rafts of endometrial tissue were present within pulmonary lymphatics and the tracheobronchial lymph nodes. Immunohistochemically, all ectopic endometrial tissue had varying degrees of positive immunoreactivity to cytokeratin, vimentin, progesterone and estrogen receptors, and calretinin but was negative for desmin and carcinoembryonic antigen. Pleural endometriosis is an extremely rare manifestation of endometriosis in nonhuman primates. This case report emphasizes lymphatic spread as a likely mechanism for extrauterine endometriosis.
Macaca mulatta; endometriosis; thoracic; fibrosis; calretinin
Endometriosis, a gynecologic pathology, is defined by the presence of a tissue similar to uterine endometrium, which is located in places other than physiologically appropriate. These endometrial heterotopic islets contain glands and stroma and are functionally capable of responding to exogenous, endogenous, or local hormonal stimuli. Endometriosis affects 8%–10% of women of reproductive age; in 30% of the women, the condition is associated with primary or secondary infertility. In several instances, endometriosis persists as a minimal or mild disease, or it can resolve on its own. Other cases of endometriosis show severe symptomatology that ends when menopause occurs. Endometriosis can, however, reactivate in several postmenopausal women when iatrogenic or endogenous hormones are present. Endometriosis is occasionally accompanied by malignant ovarian tumors, especially endometrioid and clear cell carcinomas. Its pathogenesis is widely debated, and its variable morphology appears to represent a continuum of individual presentations and progressions. Endometriosis has no pathognomonic signs or symptoms; it is therefore difficult to diagnose. Because of its enigmatic etiopathogenesis, there is currently no satisfactory therapy for all patients with endometriosis. Treatments include medications, surgery, or combined therapies; currently, the only procedures that seem to cure endometriosis are hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. In this paper, we review the most controversial and enigmatic aspects of this disease.
Endometriosis is a reproductive disease characterized by the growth of endometrial cells at sites outside the uterus. This disease is a serious disorder associated with chronic pain and infertility, which may be present in 6 million women in this country. Traditional medical therapy has consisted of hormonal regimens that limit the action of endogenous estrogen. The etiology of endometriosis is unknown, but studies suggest that soluble factors known as cytokines play a role in disease pathogenesis. 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD or dioxin) is an environmental toxicant that alters the action of estrogen in reproductive organs and adversely affects immunocompetence. The incidence of endometriosis was determined in rhesus monkeys that were chronically exposed to dioxin for a period of approximately 4 years. Ten years after termination of dioxin treatment, the presence and severity of endometriosis was assessed by surgical laparoscopy. The incidence of endometriosis correlated with dioxin exposure and disease severity was dependent upon the dose administered. Moderate to severe endometriosis was not found in control animals but was documented in three of seven animals exposed to 5 ppt dioxin (43%) and in five of seven animals exposed to 25 ppt dioxin (71%). The frequency of spontaneous disease in the control group was 33%, similar to an overall prevalence of 30% in 304 rhesus monkeys with no history of dioxin exposure. This study indicates that endometriosis may be associated with dioxin exposure in the rhesus. In view of overwhelming evidence that cytokines participate in the mediation of reproductive-endocrine phenomena and regulation of endometrial growth, future assessment of the effects of environmental toxicants on reproductive health may depend upon our understanding of the bidirectional cytokine network between the immune and endocrine systems.
Endometriosis is considered as a benign aseptic inflammatory disease, characterised by the presence of ectopic endometrium-like tissue. Its symptoms (mostly pain and infertility) are reported as constant stressors. Corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) and urocortin (UCN) are neuropeptides, strongly related to stress and inflammation. The effects of CRH and UCN are mediated through CRHR1 and CRHR2 receptors which are implicated in several reproductive functions acting as inflammatory components. However, the involvement of these molecules to endometriosis remains unknown. The aim of this study was to examine the expression of CRHR1 and CRHR2 in endometriotic sites and to compare the expression of CRHR1 and CRHR2 in eutopic endometrium of endometriotic women to that of healthy women. We further compared the expression of CRH, UCN, CRHR1 and CRHR2 in ectopic endometrium to that in eutopic endometrium of women with endometriosis. Endometrial biopsy specimens were taken from healthy women (10 patients) and endometrial and endometriotic biopsy specimens were taken from women with endometriosis (16 patients). Τhe expression of CRH, UCN, CRHR1, and CRHR2 was tested via RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry and Western blotting. This study shows for the first time that CRH and UCN receptor subtypes CRHR1β and CRHR2α are expressed in endometriotic sites and that they are more strongly expressed (p<0.01) in eutopic endometrium of women with endometriosis compared to healthy women endometrium at the mRNA and protein level. CRH, UCN, CRHR1 and CRHR2 mRNA were also more highly expressed in ectopic rather than eutopic endometrium (CRH, UCN, CRHR2α: p<0.01, CRHR1β: p<0.05) and protein (CRH and UCN: p<0.05, CRHR1 and CRHR2: p<0.01) in women with endometriosis. These data indicate that CRH and UCN might play an immunoregulatory role in endometriotic sites by affecting reproductive functions such as decidualization and implantation of women with endometriosis.
Endometriosis is an estrogen-dependent disease causing pelvic pain and infertility in 10% of reproductive-aged women. Despite a long history of the disease the pathogenesis of endometriosis is poorly understood. It is known that the expression of several proteins is either up or down regulated during endometriosis, but their precise role remains to be determined. DJ-1 is one such protein that is upregulated in eutopic endometrium of women having endometriosis suggesting that DJ-1 may be involved in the pathogenesis of endometriosis.
Methodology and Principal Findings
The role of DJ-1 in the pathogenesis of endometriosis was investigated. For this purpose the influence of DJ-1 on endometrial cell survival, attachment, proliferation, migration, and invasion either by overexpressing DJ-1 in normal endometrial cells or by knocking down DJ-1 expression in endometriotic cells using siRNA was investigated. The results indicated that DJ-1 protects endometrial cells from oxidative stress mediated apoptosis. Overexpression of DJ-1 in normal endometrial epithelial cells increases the adhesion on collagen type IV. However, no significant difference was observed incase of stromal cells. It was further demonstrated that DJ-1 regulates cell proliferation, migration, and invasion in normal endometrial and endometriotic epithelial cells whereas in the case of normal endometrial and endometriotic stromal cells, it regulates cell proliferation and invasion but not migration. Furthermore, the present study also indicated that DJ-1 regulates these cellular processes by modulating PI3K/Akt pathway by interacting and negatively regulating PTEN.
Abnormally high levels of DJ-1 expression may be involved in endometriosis, possibly by stimulating endometrial cell survival, proliferation, migration, and invasion.
A potential connection exists between exposure to organochlorine chemicals and the increasing prevalence of endometriosis. Evidence shows that dioxin (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin) can increase the incidence and severity of the disease in monkeys and can promote the growth or survival of endometrial tissue implanted into rodents in a surgically induced model of endometriosis. The mechanism of the connection between organochlorine chemicals and endometriosis is not clear. Effects on growth factors, cytokines, and hormones (components of the immune and endocrine systems) are potential means of mediating the possible promotion of endometriosis by dioxins. Studies on epidemiology and on structure-activity relationships of organochlorine chemicals and endometriosis have been additional approaches to this problem. In this regard, toxic equivalence (TEQ) appears to be an important determinant of the effects of organochlorine chemicals on endometriosis. In this article, we review the literature related to endometriosis and dioxins and attempt to integrate the various sources of information that bolster the hypothesis connecting dioxins and endometriosis.
Inflammatory disorders account for a significant percentage of gynecologic disease, particularly in reproductive age women. Inflammation is a basic method by which we respond to infection, irritation, or injury. Inflammation is now recognized as a type of nonspecific immune response, either acute or chronic. In gynecology, inflammation leads to anatomic disorders primarily as a result of infectious disease; however inflammation can affect ovulation and hormone production as well as be associated with endometriosis. Similarly, immune cell trafficking is an important component of cyclic endometrial development in each menstrual cycle. These immune cells are required for endometrial function, producing a vast array of inflammatory cytokines. Inflammation alters endometrial receptivity, however it may also play a role in tissue repair and remodeling. Finally, inflammation affects the trophoblast and trophoblast—endometrial interaction. Some components of the immune response are required for optimal fertility and normal tissue remodeling. A better understanding of the necessary role of inflammation in reproduction will allow more rational and targeted treatment of inflammatory disorders in reproductive medicine.
Reproduction; inflammation; ovulation; infertility; implantation
Endometriosis, defined as the presence of endometrium outside the uterus, is one of the most frequent gynecological diseases. It has been suggested that modifications of both endometrial and peritoneal factors could be implicated in this disease. Endometriosis is a multifactorial disease in which angiogenesis and proteolysis are dysregulated. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that regulate the protein expression and may be the main regulators of angiogenesis. Our hypothesis is that peritoneal fluid from women with endometriosis could modify the expression of several miRNAs that regulate angiogenesis and proteolysis in the endometriosis development. The objective of this study has been to evaluate the influence of endometriotic peritoneal fluid on the expression of six miRNAs related to angiogenesis, as well as several angiogenic and proteolytic factors in endometrial and endometriotic cell cultures from women with endometriosis compared with women without endometriosis.
Endometrial and endometriotic cells were cultured and treated with endometriotic and control peritoneal fluid pools. We have studied the expression of six miRNAs (miR-16, -17-5p, -20a, -125a, -221, and -222) by RT-PCR and protein and mRNA levels of vascular endothelial growth factor-A, thrombospondin-1, urokinase plasminogen activator and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 by ELISA and qRT-PCR respectively.
Control and endometriotic peritoneal fluid pools induced a significant reduction of all miRNAs levels in endometrial and endometriotic cell cultures. Moreover, both peritoneal fluids induced a significant increase in VEGF-A, uPA and PAI-1 protein levels in all cell cultures without significant increase in mRNA levels. Endometrial cell cultures from patients treated with endometriotic peritoneal fluid showed lower expression of miRNAs and higher expression of VEGF-A protein levels than cultures from controls. In conclusion, this “in vitro” study indicates that peritoneal fluid from women with endometriosis modulates the expression of miRNAs that could contribute to the angiogenic and proteolytic disequilibrium observed in this disease.
We have recently shown that women with endometriosis express an increased amount of telomerase and nucleolin, with concomitant loss of γ-H2AX in eutopic endometrium. To further examine these selected factors that regulate cell fate, in the pathogenesis of endometriosis, we studied the expression of telomerase, nucleolin, proliferating cell nuclear antigen and γ-H2AX in ectopic endometriotic deposits from women, and in matched eutopic and ectopic endometrial tissue from a baboon model of endometriosis.
Ectopic active peritoneal endometriotic lesions were collected from seven symptomatic women. Endometriosis was induced in six baboons by intra-peritoneal autologous inoculation of menstrual endometrium. Eutopic and matched ectopic endometrial tissues were collected prior to and 6, 12 and 15 months after the induction of endometriosis as previously described. Eutopic endometrium was also obtained from eight healthy fertile control baboons. Immunohistochemistry was performed as previously described, and telomerase activity was confirmed using the telomeric repeat amplification protocol assay.
All active human endometriotic lesions expressed the proliferative markers but showed weak or absent staining for γ-H2AX. A similar expression pattern of these markers was seen in the ectopic lesions of the baboons with induced disease. In these baboons, the eutopic endometrium also showed intense immunoreactivity for all proliferative markers 6–12 months after induction with a parallel loss of γ-H2AX. The opposite staining pattern was seen in eutopic endometrium of healthy animals and in pre-induction endometrium of animals with induced disease.
Endometriotic lesions have excess proliferative potential; in baboons, these were present within 12 months of the initiation of the disease. In eutopic tissue, these changes appear to be induced by the development of endometriosis.
telomerase; γ-H2AX; nucleolin; endometriosis; baboon-model
Endometriosis is classically defined as the presence of endometrial glands and stroma outside of the endometrial lining and uterine musculature. With an estimated frequency of 5%–10% among women of reproductive age, endometriosis is a common gynecologic disorder. While in itself a benign lesion, endometriosis shares several characteristics with invasive cancer, has been shown to undergo malignant transformation, and has been associated with an increased risk of epithelial ovarian carcinoma (EOC). Numerous epidemiologic studies have shown an increased risk of EOC among women with endometriosis. This is particularly true for women with endometrioid and clear cell ovarian carcinoma. However, the carcinogenic pathways by which endometriosis associated ovarian carcinoma (EAOC) develops remain poorly understood. Current molecular studies have sought to link endometriosis with EAOC through pathways related to oxidative stress, inflammation and hyperestrogenism. In addition, numerous studies have sought to identify an intermediary lesion between endometriosis and EAOC that may allow for the identification of endometriosis at greatest risk for malignant transformation or for the prevention of malignant transformation of this common gynecologic disorder. The objective of the current article is to review the current data regarding the molecular events associated with EAOC development from endometriosis, with a primary focus on malignancies of the endometrioid and clear cell histologic sub-types.
endometriosis; epithelial ovarian carcinoma; malignant transformation
Understanding the pathophysiology of chemokine secretion in endometriosis may offer a novel area of therapeutic intervention. This study aimed to identify chemokines differentially expressed in epithelial glands in eutopic endometrium from normal women and those with endometriosis, and to establish the expression profiles of key chemokines in endometriotic lesions.
Laser capture microdissection isolated epithelial glands from endometrial eutopic tissue from women with and without endometriosis in the mid-secretory phase of their menstrual cycles. Gene profiling of the excised glands used a human chemokine and receptor cDNA array. Selected chemokines were further examined using real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry.
22 chemokine/receptor genes were upregulated and two downregulated in pooled endometrial epithelium of women with endometriosis compared with controls. CCL16 and CCL21 mRNA was confirmed as elevated in some women with endometriosis compared to controls on individual samples. Immunoreactive CCL16 and CCL21 were predominantly confined to glands in eutopic and ectopic endometrium: leukocytes also stained. Immunoreactive CCL16 was overall higher in glands in ectopic vs. eutopic endometrium from the same woman (P < 0.05). Staining for CCL16 and CCL21 was highly correlated in individual tissues.
This study provides novel candidate molecules and suggests a potential local role for CCL16 and CCL21 as mediators contributing to the inflammatory events associated with endometriosis.
Nonmetastatic gene 23-H1 (NME1, also known as nm23-H1) is a wide-spectrum tumor metastasis suppressor gene that plays an important role in suppressing the proliferation, adhesion and invasion of endometrial stromal cells (ESCs). The present study is undertaken to explore the mechanism by which NME1 in ESCs from endometriosis modulates the angiogenesis and herein participates in the pathogenesis of endometriosis. The expression of NME1 in the primary ESCs from normal endometrium without endometriosis was higher than that from eutopic endometrium and ectopic lesion with endometriosis. Silencing NME1 stimulated the secretion of angiogenic factors interleukin-8 (IL-8) and vascular-endothelial growth factor (VEGF) of the eutopic ESCs from women with endometriosis, and these effects could be abrogated by MAPK/ERK1/2 or AKT inhibitor. In addition, the supernatant of NME1-silenced ESCs increased the expression of angiogenesis-relative molecules CD62E and CD105, and promoted angiogenesis of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Anti-human IL-8 or VEGF neutralizing antibody reversed the effect on angiogenesis of HUVECs induced by NME1-silenced ESCs. Our current results suggest that the abnormal lower expression of NME1 in ESCs secrete more IL-8 and VEGF through activation of MAPK/ERK1/2 and AKT signal pathways, up-regulate the level of CD62E and CD105, and finally lead to numerous angiogenesis of vascular endothelial cells in the endometriotic milieu, which is beneficial to the origin and development of endometriosis.
NME1; ESCs; HUVECs; angiogenesis; endometriosis
Endometriosis is a chronic gynecological benign disease that shares several features similar to malignancy. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations have been reported in all most all types of tumors. However, it is not known as to whether mtDNA mutations are associated with endometriosis.
We sequenced the entire mitochondrial genome of analogous ectopic and eutopic endometrial tissues along with blood samples from 32 advanced stage endometriosis patients to analyze the role of somatic and germ-line mtDNA variations in pathogenesis of endometriosis. All ectopic tissues were screened for tumor-specific mtDNA deletions and microsatellite instability (MSI). We also performed mtDNA haplogrouping in 128 patients and 90 controls to identify its possible association with endometriosis risk.
We identified 51 somatic (novel: 31; reported: 20) and 583 germ-line mtDNA variations (novel: 53; reported: 530) in endometriosis patients. The A13603G, a novel missense mutation which leads to a substitution from serine to glycine at the codon 423 of ND5 gene showed 100% incidence in ectopic tissues. Interestingly, eutopic endometrium and peripheral leukocytes of all the patients showed heteroplasmy (A/G; 40–80%) at this locus, while their ectopic endometrium showed homoplasmic mutant allele (G/G). Superimposition of native and mutant structures of ND5 generated by homology modeling revealed no structural differences. Tumor-specific deletions and MSI were not observed in any of the ectopic tissues. Haplogrouping analysis showed a significant association between haplogroup M5 and endometriosis risk (P: 0.00069) after bonferroni correction.
Our findings substantiate the rationale for exploring the mitochondrial genome as a biomarker for the diagnosis of endometriosis.
Identification of mechanisms underlying endometriosis pathogenesis will facilitate understanding and treatment pf infertility and pain associated with this disorder. Herein, we investigated the expression of steroidogenic pathway enzymes and key decidualization biomarkers, in endometrial tissue and in eutopic endometrial stromal fibroblasts (hESF) from women with vs. without endometriosis and subsequently treated in vitro with 8-Br-cAMP or progesterone (P4). Real-time QPCR, immunohistochemistry, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and radiometric aromatase activity assay were used. The results demonstrate significantly increased (14.5-fold, p=0.037) expression of aromatase in eutopic endometrium of women with disease. In 8-Br-cAMP-treated hESF from eutopic endometrium of women with endometriosis, the balance in estradiol (E2) and P4 biosynthetic and metabolizing enzymes is disturbed (decreased HSD3B1 and HSD17B2, and increased HSD17B1 and aromatase), with the equilibrium being shifted towards and E2-enriched milieu. However, hESF from the same group of women treated with P4 did not demonstrate such responsiveness. Lower expression of IGFBP1 and prolactin mRNA and protein was observed in hESF from women with vs. without endometriosis in response to 8-Br-cAMP, but not P4, suggesting a blunted response of these decidual biomarkers to activation of the PKA pathway in eutopic endometrium in women with disease. The dichotomy of 8-Br-cAMP regulation of select steroidogenic enzymes leading to an enriched E2 milieu within the endometrium and a blunted response of decidual biomarkers to this decidualizing agent of hESF from women with endometriosis suggests resistance to full decidualization of the stromal fibroblasts and mechanisms underlying implantation failure and the pathophysiology of this disorder.
endometriosis; eutopic endometrium; steroidogenesis; endometrial fibroblasts