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J Soc Gynecol Investig. 1994 Jan-Mar;1(1):65-8.

Whole endometrial fragments form characteristics of in vivo endometriosis in a mesothelial cell co-culture system: an in vitro model for the study of the histogenesis of endometriosis.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, Oklahoma City 73190, USA.



We have previously reported on the effects of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-1 (IL-1) on the adhesion of human endometrial stromal cells to peritoneal mesothelial cells in vitro. The relevance of this co-culture system to in vivo endometriosis remains to be established. We contrasted endometrial fragments with endometrial stromal cells to determine their relevance.


Human mesothelial cells were isolated from peritoneal fluid from four normal women via Ficoll-Paque gradient centrifugation at 400 x g for 30 minutes and grown in M199 medium containing epidermal growth factor (10 ng/mL) and 10% fetal calf serum. The homogeneous cells were cultured on collagen-coated plates until a monolayer formed. Endometrial stromal cells or whole endometrial fragments, isolated from endometrial tissue of four normal women, were put on the mesothelial monolayer and cultured at 37 degrees C for 24 days. After fixation, the samples were incubated with monoclonal antibody to epithelial membrane antigen, cytokeratin, and vimentin, and processed with standard immunohistochemical techniques.


Observation under phase contrast microscopy revealed that, in this co-culture system, whole endometrial fragments demonstrated characteristic morphology of in vivo endometriosis, whereas isolated endometrial stromal cells did not.


Whole endometrial fragments, but not isolated endometrial stromal cells, form morphologically characteristic structures similar to in vivo endometriosis in this co-culture system. It is hoped that this system might be useful for studying certain aspects of the histogenesis of endometriosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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