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Hum Reprod Update. 2004 Jan-Feb;10(1):29-38.

Apoptosis in human endometrium and endometriosis.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Tottori University School of Medicine, 36-1 Nishimachi, 683-8504, Yonago, Japan. tasuku@grape.med.tottori-u.ac.jp

Abstract

Apoptosis plays a critical role in maintaining tissue homeostasis and represents a normal function to eliminate excess or dysfunctional cells. Accumulated evidence suggests that apoptosis helps to maintain cellular homeostasis during the menstrual cycle by eliminating senescent cells from the functional layer of the uterine endometrium during the late secretory and menstrual phase of the cycle. The BCL-2 family and Fas/FasL system have been extensively studied in human endometrium and endometriotic tissues. Eutopic endometrium from women with endometriosis reportedly has some fundamental differences compared with normal endometrium of women without endometriosis. The differences could contribute to the survival of regurgitating endometrial cells into the peritoneal cavity and the development of endometriosis. One mechanism that recently gained a lot of interest is the finding that apoptosis appeared in eutopic and ectopic endometrium of patients with endometriosis. This study is a current review of the literature focused on the physiological role of apoptosis in normal endometrium and the alterations in regulation of apoptosis in eutopic and ectopic endometrium from women with endometriosis. Similarities in characteristics of endometriosis at a molecular level with gynaecological tumours are also discussed. Finally, the role of apoptosis in the treatment of endometriosis is reviewed to link the basic research findings into clinical applications.

PMID:
15005462
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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