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Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2017 Jan;21(1):67-75. Epub 2016 Nov 28.

Targeting mast cells: a new way to treat endometriosis.

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a Institut de Recherche Expérimentale et Clinique (IREC) Pôle de Gynécologie , Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) , Bruxelles , Belgium.
b Society for Research into Infertility (SRI, Société de Recherche pour l'Infertilité) , Brussels , Belgium.
c Gynecology Department , Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc , Brussels , Belgium.


Endometriosis is a chronic estrogen-dependent inflammatory disease of unclear etiology that affects 15-20% of women of reproductive age. Efforts are now focusing on understanding new mechanisms involved in its physiopathology, like novel target pathways and different molecules. There is evidence that mast cells (MCs) play a role in this disease. This article summarizes recent achievements in preclinical studies and clinical activities investigating the role of MCs in endometriosis. Targeting MCs might offer new alternatives to treat this disease. Areas covered: A systematic literature search was performed (PubMed, Cochrane Library and using the keywords 'endometriosis and mast cells'. All relevant articles (34) found in PubMed were examined and their reference lists reviewed in order to pinpoint further studies for potential inclusion. Expert opinion: Since endometriosis is a multifactorial disease, and considering that numbers of MCs and activated MCs were clearly increased in endometriotic lesions in both animals and humans, use of MC stabilizers and inhibitors may prove to be effective to treat endometriosis and its associated pain. However, more data from preclinical studies and clinical trials will help to better define the status of MCs in the treatment of this pathology.


Degranulation; JAK/STAT pathway; endometriosis; immune system; inflammation; leukotriene receptor antagonist; levonorgestrel progestogen; mast cell stabilizers; mast cells; pain; palmitoylethanolamide; polydatin; sodium cromoglycate

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