• Cytokine;
  • endometriosis;
  • natural killer cell;
  • NKp46;
  • peritoneal fluid


To investigate the relationship between the expression of natural cytotoxicity receptors (NCRs) on peritoneal fluid (PF) natural killer (NK) (pfNK) cells and cytokine production by pfNK cells in women with endometriosis.

Method of study

Peritoneal fluid was collected from women with endometriosis undergoing laparoscopic surgery (n = 21) and controls without endometriosis (n = 28). The expression of NK cell surface antigens such as CD16 and NCRs (NKp46, NKp44 and NKp30) on pfNK cells, and cytokines production by pfNK cells [tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, IFN-γ, IL-4, IL-10, GM-CSF and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1] were measured using multicolor flow cytometry.


The percentages of CD56+/NKp46+ cells and CD56dim/NKp46+ cells in severe endometriosis group were significantly lower than that in controls. TNF-α and IFN-γ production by pfNK cells in severe endometriosis group was significantly higher than those in controls.


The differential expression of NKp46, TNF-α, and IFN-γ on pfNK cells in women with severe endometriosis may allow the proliferation and angiogenesis of endometriotic cells.