Objective: To use DNA microarrays to identify differentially expressed genes in eutopic endometrium compared with ectopic endometrium.
Design: Prospective, cross-sectional, observational study.
Setting: University Medical Center and Research Laboratory.
Patient(s): Eleven women with endometriosis.
Main outcome measure(s): Differential gene expression.
Result(s): Seven hundred seventeen of the 53,000 probes on the whole human DNA microarrays were changed by twofold or greater in ectopic versus eutopic endometrium. Families of genes that were expressed differentially include genes that code for proteins associated with the immune system and inflammatory pathways, cell adhesion, cell-cell junctions, the extracellular matrix and its remodeling, cytoskeletal proteins, and signal transduction pathway components, among others.
Conclusion(s): The altered immune environment may allow survival of endometriotic cells that enter the abdominal cavity. Alterations of cell adhesion-associated genes may contribute to the adhesive and invasive properties of ectopic endometrium, and changes in signal transduction pathways support a change in the communication among cells of the endometrial explant compared with eutopic endometrium. These families of differentially expressed genes provide multiple opportunities for the development and testing of new hypotheses regarding endometriosis.