Soluble urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor is over-expressed in uterine endometrium from women with endometriosis

Mol Hum Reprod. 1997 Dec;3(12):1101-5. doi: 10.1093/molehr/3.12.1101.


Extracellular matrix degradation by secreted proteases, e.g. plasmin, is essential for endometrial functions such as blastocyst implantation and menstruation. We investigated whether the expression of plasmin(ogen) activating or inhibiting factors in endometrial cells from women with endometriosis was different from women without the disease. Endometrial biopsies were obtained from 10 patients with and 16 women without endometriosis. Cells were cultured in Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium (DMEM)/F12 supplemented with diethylstilboestrol (10(-10) M) alone or combined with promegestone (5 x 10(-8) or 5 x 10(-6) M). Urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA), plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI)-1 and -2, and soluble uPA receptor (suPA-R) concentrations were assayed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in the conditioned media. uPA and PAI-2 concentrations were not influenced by steroid treatment and did not differ between women with and without endometriosis, whereas PAI-1 was significantly up-regulated by promegestone in both groups. In contrast, suPA-R expression was not influenced by steroid treatment but was significantly higher in cells from endometriosis patients. This is the first report on suPA-R secretion in endometrial cells and the results indicate an altered activation of plasmin(ogen) in endometrium from women with endometriosis that could lead to a higher proteolytic potential of retrogradely menstruated endometrial fragments with consecutive development of endometriotic foci.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cells, Cultured
  • Endometriosis / enzymology*
  • Endometriosis / metabolism
  • Endometriosis / pathology
  • Endometrium / enzymology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Plasminogen Activators / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / biosynthesis*
  • Receptors, Urokinase Plasminogen Activator
  • Solubility
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator / metabolism*


  • PLAUR protein, human
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Urokinase Plasminogen Activator
  • Plasminogen Activators
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator