Oxidative stress and peritoneal endometriosis.Fertil Steril 2002; 77(5):861-70FS
To review the literature associating pelvic endometriosis with oxidative stress and to discuss the potential causes and consequences of a pro-oxidant environment in the peritoneal cavity.
Several studies suggest that oxidative stress is a component of the inflammatory reaction associated with endometriosis. Evidence includes the prevention of endometriosis induction in rabbits by the addition of antioxidants, an increase in reactive oxygen species release by macrophages, increased peritoneal levels of oxidized low-density lipoproteins and their by-products, altered expression of endometrial pro-oxidant and antioxidant enzymes, and consumption of peritoneal fluid vitamin E. Retrograde menstruation is likely to carry highly pro-oxidant factors, such as heme and iron, into the peritoneal cavity, as well as apoptotic endometrial cells, which are well-known inducers of oxidative stress. Reactive oxygen species may be involved in endometriosis-associated infertility and may play a role in the regulation of the expression of genes encoding immunoregulators, cytokines and cell adhesion molecules implicated in the pathogenesis of endometriosis.
Better understanding of the mechanisms of reactive oxygen species production and detoxification and further investigation of their effect on the peritoneal environment are essential to obtain new insight into this disease and eventually develop new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.