Endometrial leukocyte subpopulations in women with endometriosis

L D Klentzeris, J N Bulmer, D T Liu, L Morrison
European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology 1995, 63 (1): 41-7
The aim of this study was to investigate whether the endometrium of women with endometriosis differs immunologically from the endometrium of normal fertile women. Endometrial biopsies were obtained from 18 normal fertile women who were requesting sterilisation or reversal of sterilisation and 21 infertile women who had laparoscopically diagnosed pelvic endometriosis. The endometrial biopsies were obtained from both groups during the either early, mid or late luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. A panel of 11 monoclonal antibodies and immuno-histochemical techniques were employed to characterise the endometrial stromal leukocytes in frozen sections. Image analysis was used for semi quantitation of leukocytes. In both groups, the number of endometrial granulated lymphocytes (CD56+ CD38+ cells) and macrophages (CD68+ cells) increased significantly between the early and late luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. Compared with fertile controls, women with endometriosis had fewer T-suppressor/cytotoxic (CD8+) cells and endometrial granulated lymphocytes but more T-helper/inducer (CD4+) cells, CD68+ cells and CD16+ cells. None of these differences reached a statistically significant level. This study has shown that the endometrial lymphoid tissue of women with endometriosis does not differ qualitatively or quantitively from that of normal fertile controls. However, functional differences of endometrial leukocytes between the two groups cannot be excluded.

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