The distribution of immune cells and macrophages in the endometrium of women with recurrent reproductive failure. II: adenomyosis and macrophages

J Reprod Immunol. 2012 Jan;93(1):58-63. doi: 10.1016/j.jri.2011.12.001. Epub 2011 Dec 29.


Adenomyosis, a condition usually associated with multiparity, is not generally seen as a cause of infertility. However, recent studies have reported a reduction in IVF implantation rates and a link with miscarriage, suggesting that adenomyosis may interfere with successful implantation. To investigate this hypothesis, the clinical records and laboratory results, which routinely include immunohistochemical examination of a late luteal phase endometrial biopsy for leukocytes, were retrospectively reviewed for 64 women with implantation failure and who previously had been screened for the presence of adenomyosis by pelvic MRI. The presence of either diffuse or "adenomyoma" type of adenomyosis was associated with a marked increase (p=0.004) in the density of macrophages and natural killer cells in the endometrial stroma, compared to those women with mild focal adenomyosis or no disease. These findings point to an immunological mechanism by which adenomyosis might interfere with successful embryo implantation.

MeSH terms

  • Embryo Implantation / immunology*
  • Endometriosis / diagnosis
  • Endometriosis / immunology*
  • Endometriosis / physiopathology
  • Endometrium / immunology*
  • Endometrium / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / diagnosis
  • Infertility, Female / immunology*
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Parity / immunology
  • Pelvis / diagnostic imaging
  • Pregnancy
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies