Immunology and Endometriosis
Version of Record online: 16 JUN 2003
American Journal of Reproductive Immunology
Volume 50, Issue 1, pages 48–59, July 2003
How to Cite
Berkkanoglu, M. and Arici, A. (2003), Immunology and Endometriosis. American Journal of Reproductive Immunology, 50: 48–59. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0897.2003.00042.x
- Issue online: 16 JUN 2003
- Version of Record online: 16 JUN 2003
- Submitted July 18, 2002; revised October 29, 2002; accepted November 1, 2002.
- natural killer cell
Problem: Accumulating data suggests that aberrant immune responses during retrograde menstruation may be involved in the development of endometriosis.
Method of Study: The role of immunology in the etiology of endometriosis is reviewed and summarized from the available literature.
Results: Immunologic factors may affect a woman's susceptibility to implantation of exfoliated endometrial cells. Immune alterations include increased number and activation of peritoneal macrophages, decreased T cell reactivity and natural killer cell cytotoxicity, increased circulating antibodies, and changes in the cytokine network.
Conclusion: There is substantial evidence that immunologic factors play a role in the pathogenesis of endometriosis and endometriosis-associated infertility. Decreased natural killer cell cytotoxicity leads to an increased likelihood of implantation of endometriotic tissue. In addition, macrophages and a complex network of locally produced cytokines modulate the growth and inflammatory behavior of ectopic endometrial implants.