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J Reprod Immunol. 2019 Nov;136:102615. doi: 10.1016/j.jri.2019.102615. Epub 2019 Sep 28.

Expressions of natural cytotoxicity receptor, NKG2D and NKG2D ligands in endometriosis.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Renji Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China; Shanghai Key Laboratory of Gynecologic Oncology, Renji Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China. Electronic address:


Pathogenesis of endometriosis is still unknown, and the relationship between NK cell activating receptors and endometriosis remains to be explored. We investigated the expression of NCRs and NKG2D in NK cells in peripheral blood (PB) and peritoneal fluid (PF) as well as expression of NKG2D ligands in endometrial cells, and illuminated their relationship with ovarian endometriosis. 20 patients with ovarian endometriosis and 13 subjects for control group were recruited. Flow cytometry was used for examining expressions of NCRs and NKG2D on NK cells. In PF with endometriosis, the expressions of NKp30 (P = 0. 006) and NKG2D (P = 0. 010) on CD56+NK cells were decreased, whereas the expression of NKp46 (P = 0. 040) on CD16+NK cells was higher than that of control. Real time PCR and Western blotting were used for detecting expression of NKG2D ligands. mRNA level of NKG2D ligands on endometrial cells showed no noticeable difference. As for protein expression, the ULBP-2 expression on eutopic endometrial cells with pelvic endometriosis was lower than that on ectopic endometrial cells and eutopic endometrial cells without endometriosis (P < 0.05), and the ULBP-3 expression on ectopic endometrial cells was lower than that on eutopic endometrial cells with or without endometriosis (P < 0.05). These findings indicate that change of NKp30, NKp46 and NKG2D on NK cells in PF and ULBP-2, 3 on endometrial cells may relate to the pathogenesis of pelvic endometriosis. Especially, change of NK cell activating receptors in PF implies that pelvic endometriosis is probably due to local immune changes.


NKG2D; NKG2D ligands; Natural cytotoxicity receptors; Ovarian endometriosis

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