Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals and Vitamin D Deficiency in the Pathogenesis of Uterine Fibroids

J Adv Pharm Res. 2021 Spring;5(2):260-275. doi: 10.21608/aprh.2021.66748.1124.


Uterine fibroids (UFs) are the most prevalent gynecologic neoplasm, affecting 70-80% of women over their lifespan. Although UFs are benign they can become life-threatening and require invasive surgeries such as myomectomy and hysterectomy. Notwithstanding the significant negative influence UFs have on female reproductive health, very little is known about early events that initiate tumor development. Several risk factors for UFs have been identified including vitamin D deficiency, inflammation, DNA repair deficiency, and environmental exposures to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). EDCs have come under scrutiny recently due to their role in UF development. Epidemiologic studies have found an association between increased risk for early UF diagnosis and in utero EDC exposure. Environmental exposure to EDCs during uterine development increases UF incidence in a UF animal model. Notably, several studies demonstrated that abnormal myometrial stem cells (MMSCs) are the cell origin for UFs development. Our recent studies demonstrated that early-life EDC exposure reprogrammed the MMSCs toward a pro-fibroid landscape and altered the DNA repair and inflammation pathways. Notably, Vitamin D3 (VITD3) as a natural compound shrank the UF growth concomitantly with the reversion of several abnormal biological pathways and ameliorated the developmental exposure-induced DNA damage and pro-inflammation pathway in primed MMSCs. This review highlights and emphasizes the importance of multiple pathway interactions in the context of hypovitaminosis D at the MMSCs level and provides proof-of-concept information that can help develop a safe, long-term, durable, and non-surgical therapeutic option for UFs.

Keywords: DNA damage; EDCs; Inflammation; Uterine fibroids; Vitamin D3.