Paracrine regulation of endometriotic tissue.Gynecol Endocrinol 2007; 23(10):574-80GE
Endometriosis is a chronic estrogen-dependent gynecological disease, characterized by pelvic pain and infertility, defined as the presence of endometrial glands and stroma within the pelvic peritoneum and other extrauterine sites. In the peritoneal cavity endometrial cells adhere, proliferate and induce an inflammatory response. Despite a long history of clinical and experimental research, the pathogenesis of endometriosis is still controversial. Abnormal immunological activation, the endocrine milieu and the peritoneal environment all dramatically affect endometriotic tissue function. Recent studies suggest that the peritoneal fluid of women with endometriosis contains an increased number of activated macrophages and other immune cells that secrete various local products, such as growth factors and cytokines, which exert a paracrine action on endometriotic cells. Since the peculiar biological characteristics of eutopic endometrium from women with endometriosis differ from endometrium of normal subjects, an important role in the pathogenesis of this complex disease has been suggested. All of these factors contribute to enhanced proliferative and angiogenic activity and a number of functional and structural changes, resulting in the particular behavior of this tissue.