Background: The intestinal microflora provide a strong defence against intestinal pathogens, and may be altered in inflammatory conditions that impact the gut, such as endometriosis. Therefore, intestinal bacteria shed from rhesus monkeys with endometriosis were compared with age-matched healthy controls. A second study assessed the prevalence of intestinal inflammation in female monkeys to determine whether endometriosis is associated with an increased likelihood of intestinal inflammation.
Methods: Differential and selective agars were used to enumerate total and Gram-negative aerobic and facultatively anaerobic bacteria, as well as Lactobacilli, from female monkeys with or without endometriosis. In addition, the prevalence of intestinal inflammation in monkeys with or without endometriosis was determined in a retrospective analysis of necropsy reports.
Results: Monkeys with endometriosis had a significantly different profile of shed microflora. Endometriosis was associated with lower Lactobacilli concentrations and higher Gram-negative bacteria concentrations. Moreover, there was a higher prevalence of intestinal inflammation in monkeys with endometriosis in comparison to healthy controls.
Conclusions: Endometriosis is associated with an altered profile of intestinal microflora in rhesus monkeys. Although the exact mechanisms linking endometriosis and the microflora are unknown, it is possible that the microflora were affected by endometriosis-associated intestinal inflammation.