Problem: Interactions between the extracellular matrix (ECM) and peripheral blood T cells in women with endometriosis and leiomyoma are hardly unknown. We have investigated the influence of two major ECM components, collagen IV (C-IV) and fibronectin (Fn), on T-cell proliferation and apoptosis in women with endometriosis and uterine leiomyoma. β1 integrin expression, responsible for interactions with ECM proteins, was also studied.
Method of study: Peripheral blood lymphocytes were obtained from 53 women (17 with uterine leiomyomas, 18 with endometriosis, and 18 from healthy donors). T cells were exposed to ECM proteins co-immobilized with monoclonal antibody anti-CD3 for 72 hr. Apoptosis and S phase of the cell cycle of the T cells were studied by DNA analysis using flow cytometry. The proliferation of T cells was evaluated by MTT assay. The percentage of CD3+ cells expressing CD29 (β1 integrin chain) was evaluated by double-color flow cytometry. Results were analyzed statistically using the Mann–Whitney test.
Results and conclusions: (1) A general increase in the percentage of T cells in S phase could be seen in women with endometriosis and uterine leiomyoma in all culture conditions what may suggest general activation of T cells. (2) A significant increase in the percentage of cells in S phase was shown only in the case of T cells exposed to anti-CD3 + C-IV in both women with uterine leiomyoma and endometriosis. (3) However, no apoptotic cells were observed. (4) T cells from patients with uterine leiomyoma exhibited significantly increased level of proliferation after culture with anti-CD3 + C-IV. (5) More T cells expressed β1 integrin in women with endometriosis or uterine leiomyoma than in healthy donors. Our data may suggest that increased β1 integrin expression may enhance T-cell–ECM interactions, which may be responsible for the increased proliferation of T cells but not for apoptosis. Therefore, it is possible that interactions of T cells with ECM proteins, especially with C-IV, may contribute to the pathogenesis of endometriosis and uterine leiomyoma.