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Reprod Sci. 2018 Jan 1:1933719118765971. doi: 10.1177/1933719118765971. [Epub ahead of print]

Serum MicroRNA Biomarkers Regulated by Simvastatin in a Primate Model of Endometriosis.

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1 Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.
2 Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Department of Reproductive Medicine, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA.


Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory and estrogen-dependent disease that causes pain and infertility in reproductive-aged women. Due to the delay in diagnosis, there is a pressing need for accurate biomarkers. Detection of serum noncoding RNA molecules such as microRNAs (miRNAs) shows promise as a noninvasive diagnostic strategy; we previously identified miRNAs that are highly sensitive and specific biomarkers for the disease. In this study, we investigate the expression of these miRNAs in a nonhuman primate model of endometriosis. As part of a pilot study evaluating simvastatin for the treatment of endometriosis, the disease was induced in 16 baboons by induction laparoscopy and the animals were divided into 2 groups. One group was treated with simvastatin for 90 days, while the second group received vehicle only. Endometriosis was evaluated after 3 months by laparoscopy. Serum samples were analyzed for 9 circulating miRNAs using quantitative real time-polymerase chain reaction, focusing on the miRNAs we found to be dysregulated in human endometriosis. In the simvastatin-treated endometriosis group, levels of miR-150-5p and miR-451a were decreased, while miR-3613-5p levels were increased compared to the untreated endometriosis group. The changes in circulating miRNA expression patterns parallel our previous results in human patients and show that specific miRNAs correlate with endometriosis severity and reverted toward control expression levels after simvastatin treatment. This is the first report showing serum miRNA expression normalized in response to endometriosis treatment, supporting the potential for this class of biomarkers to be used both to diagnose endometriosis and to monitor its progression and response to therapy.


baboons; biomarker; endometriosis; miRNAs; simvastatin; statins


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