PROBLEM: Interleukins (IL) 13 and 15 are key regulators of inflammatory and immune responses, processes that are central to endometriosis and associated abnormalities. The present study examined (1) whether ectopic endometrial tissue expresses IL-13 and IL-15 (2) if their expression differs compared with matched eutopic endometrium and control endometrium from normal fertile women, and (3) if peritoneal fluids (PF) content of these cytokines reflects the disease compared with PF from women with peritoneal adhesions unrelated to endometriosis and those without pelvic pathology.
METHODS: The expression of IL-13 and IL-15 mRNA and protein was determined using quantitative RT-PCR, ELISA and immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: Ectopic endometrium expresses IL-13 and IL-15 mRNA and protein with elevated levels compared with eutopic and control endometrium, irrespective of the phases of the menstrual cycle, with predominance in IL-13 expression. Endometrial epithelial cells were found to be the primary site of IL-13 and IL-15 expression. The PF content of IL-13 and IL-15 show a trend toward higher concentrations in women with adhesion and endometriosis, respectively, compared with fertile control without pelvic pathology.
CONCLUSION: Interleukins 13 and 15 are expressed in ectopic endometrium and present in PF of women with endometriosis and their elevated expression in ectopic endometrium suggests that these cytokines play a key role in local inflammatory/immune responses that are critical in endometriosis-associated abnormalities.