Endometriosis is a metastatic disease without obvious tumorigenesis. Expression of S100P, S100A4, osteopontin (OPN) or anterior gradient homologue 2 (AGR2) proteins can induce metastasis but fail to induce tumorigenesis per se. We now explore whether this group of metastasis-inducing proteins (MIPs) are associated with the pathogenesis of endometriosis.
Eutopic endometrial biopsies were taken from 73 women (35 fertile women without endometriosis and 38 women with surgically diagnosed endometriosis). Ectopic endometriotic lesions were collected from eight of the women with endometriosis. The expression of MIPs at the cellular level was evaluated by immunohistochemistry and the presence of these proteins in the endometrial tissues was verified by western blotting and their gene expression was confirmed by RT–PCR.
All four MIPs were immunolocated in the endometrium of control women and S100P, AGR2 and OPN showed a cyclical variation. Proliferative phase eutopic endometrium of both groups showed a similar staining pattern for all MIPs, whereas secretory phase endometrium showed a differential expression between controls and cases. The secretory phase endometrial immunostaining of controls showed weak stromal and perivascular AGR2, and decreased stromal and glandular S100P. In contrast, immunostaining for all MIPs was increased in the late secretory endometrial samples of women with endometriosis and intense immunostaining was seen for S100A4 in the stroma (P< 0.05) and for S100P (P< 0.001) and AGR2 (P< 0.0001) in both glands and stroma (P< 0.001). All active peritoneal endometriotic lesions showed strong immunostaining for each of the MIPs studied.
We propose that these MIPs enhance endometrial cell invasiveness and contribute to the establishment of ectopic endometriotic deposits after retrograde menstruation.
Keywords: endometriosis; S100P; AGR2; S100A4; osteopontin
Journal Article. 8333 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Reproductive Medicine
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