The role of endometrium in endometriosis.J Soc Gynecol Investig 2006; 13(7):467-76JS
Endometriosis is defined as the presence of endometrial glands and stroma outside the uterus. Several theories have been proposed to explain the pathogenesis of this disease. According to Sampson's retrograde menstruation theory, endometrial cells are refluxed through the fallopian tubes during the menstruation and implant onto peritoneum or pelvic organs. Since retrograde menstruation is a very common phenomenon among women of reproductive age, there must be other factors that may contribute to the pathophysiology and/or pathogenesis of endometriosis. Genetic predisposition, environmental factors, and alterations in immune and endocrine functions are believed to play significant roles in the establishment and maintenance of endometriosis. Although the eutopic endometriums of women with and without endometriosis are histologically similar, studies revealed that there are many fundamental differences between these two tissues. Invasive properties, decreased apoptosis, alterations in expression of specific gene and proteins, and increased steroid and cytokine production have been identified in eutopic endometrium of women with endometriosis. Furthermore, significant biochemical differences exist even between ectopic and autologous eutopic endometrium. These differences can be explained by the direct effects of an inflammatory peritoneal environment.