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Mol Neurobiol. 2017 Sep;54(7):5131-5141. doi: 10.1007/s12035-016-0058-1. Epub 2016 Aug 24.

Reduced Sympathetic Innervation in Endometriosis is Associated to Semaphorin 3C and 3F Expression.

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Endometriosis Research Centre, Department of Gynecology, Charité, Campus Benjamin Franklin, 12200, Berlin, Germany.
Department of Biology, Chemistry, Pharmacy, Freie Universität Berlin, Takustr. 3, 14195, Berlin, Germany.
Endometriosis Research Centre, Department of Gynecology, Charité, Campus Benjamin Franklin, 12200, Berlin, Germany.


Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory disease and one of the most common causes of pelvic pain. The mechanisms underlying pain emergence or chronic inflammation during endometriosis remain unknown. Several chronic inflammatory diseases including endometriosis show reduced amounts of noradrenergic nerve fibers. The source of the affected innervation is still unclear. Semaphorins represent potential elicitors, due to their known role as axonal guidance cues, and are suggested as nerve repellent factors in different chronic inflammatory diseases. Therefore, semaphorins might influence the progress of neuroinflammatory mechanisms during endometriosis. Here, we analyzed the noradrenergic innervation and the expression of the specific semaphorins and receptors possibly involved in the neuroimmunomodulation in endometriosis. Our studies revealed an affected innervation and a significant increase of semaphorins and their receptors in peritoneal endometriotic tissue. Thereby, the expression of the receptors was identified on the membrane of noradrenergic nerve fibers and vessels. Macrophages and activated fibroblasts were found in higher density levels and additionally express semaphorins in peritoneal endometriotic tissue. Inflammation leads to an increased release of immune cells, which secrete a variety of inflammatory factors capable of affecting innervation. Therefore, our data suggests that the chronic inflammatory condition in endometriosis might contribute to the increase of semaphorins, which could possibly affect the innervation in peritoneal endometriosis.


Endometriosis; Innervation; Neuroimmunomodulation; Semaphorins; Sympathetic nerve fibers

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