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Differences in the stem cell-associated gene expression of eutopic endometrium from endometriosis patients in comparison to healthy women
20 September 2018 (online)
To investigate possible differences in the gene expression of eutopic endometrium of healthy women compared to the eutopic endometrium of endometriosis patients with a special emphasis on stem cell-associated genes.
Materials and methods:
Endometrial biopsies consisting of endometrial stromal cells (ESCs) and endometrial epithelial cells (EECs) of patients with and without endometriosis (n = 19 healthy controls, n = 19 endometriosis ASRM I-II°, n = 11 ASRM III-IV°) were investigated via real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry for a panel of stem cell-associated genes.
To further investigate the stem cell nature of endometriosis, stem cell associated genes, especially those required for the reprogramming of differentiated cells, were analysed. NANOG and Klf-4, but not c-Myc, showed significant upregulation only in the Grade III-IV group compared to the healthy group. Oct-4, however, was significantly upregulated in both Grade I-II and Grade III-IV endometriosis groups when compared to the control. SOX-2 showed a steady increase from normal to endometriosis group, which was significant for Grade III-IV. Musashi-1, as a maintainer of stem cell function, is also significantly upregulated in all grades of endometriosis when compared to the control.
Our results indicate a significant upregulation of various stem cell-associated markers, in the eutopic endometrium of endometriosis patients in comparison to healthy women. This supports the stem cell nature of endometriosis and should be further explored. On-going investigations will further elucidate the interplay of the regulated genes.