Is there an association between autoimmunity and endometriosis?

Autoimmun Rev. 2012 Sep;11(11):806-14. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2012.01.005. Epub 2012 Feb 4.


Endometriosis is a benign gynecologic disorder that affects 5-10% of women of reproductive age worldwide. It is characterized by the presence of ectopic endometrial cells and stroma in various locations outside the endometrium. In some of these women there are also a chronic local inflammatory process and presence of autoantibodies. It is not known whether this process is part of the etiology or is a secondary response to the ectopic cells. Furthermore, endometriosis shares similarities with several autoimmune diseases, which include elevated levels of cytokines, decreased apoptosis, and cell-mediated abnormalities. Our aim in this paper was to review the association between autoimmunity and endometriosis. For this purpose we conducted a thorough literature review in the MEDLINE/PubMed database using the keyword endometriosis crossed with: autoimmune disease, autoimmune diseases, autoimmunity, autoantibodies, immunity, immune-modulation, endometrial antibodies, etc.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoantibodies / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Autoimmunity / immunology*
  • Endometriosis / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility / immunology
  • Inflammation / immunology


  • Autoantibodies