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Hum Reprod. 2003 Jan;18(1):152-6.

Expression of erythropoietin and erythropoietin receptor in peritoneal endometriosis.

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Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Tohoku University School of Medicine, 1-1, Seiryo-machi, Aoba-ku, Sendai, 980-8574, Japan.



Recent studies have indicated new physiological roles for erythropoietin (Epo) unrelated to erythropoiesis. We previously demonstrated that the Epo concentrations in peritoneal fluid from patients with stage I endometriosis were significantly higher than those with stages II, III and IV of the disease. Therefore, we hypothesized that Epo may play a role in the pathogenesis of endometriosis, particularly during the early stages of the disease.


We investigated the localization of Epo and the Epo receptor (Epo-R) in peritoneal endometriosis and eutopic endometrium, using immunohistochemistry.


We detected Epo and Epo-R localized within glandular epithelial cells in both peritoneal endometriosis and eutopic endometrium. There was no significant difference in Epo expression between red and black peritoneal lesions, whereas Epo-R expression was significantly lower in black peritoneal lesions when compared to red lesions. Epo and Epo-R expression levels within red peritoneal lesions were comparable to those of eutopic endometrium from patients with endometriosis.


The present findings suggest that Epo may play a role in the pathophysiology of endometriosis.

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