• endometriosis;
  • matrix metalloproteinase;
  • melatonin;
  • oxidative stress;
  • severity index;
  • tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase

Abstract:  Endometriosis is a gynecological disease of women and plausibly regulated by matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). However, mechanisms of alterations in MMPs during endometriosis remain unclear. Human endometriotic tissues possessing varying degrees of severity were examined for expression of MMPs and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1. In addition, endometriosis was generated in mice and endometriotic tissues were tested for MMP-9 activity. Results show significant upregulation of secreted and synthesized proMMP-9 activity with duration and severity of endometriosis. Along with upregulation of activity, the expression of proMMP-9 was found increased while TIMP-1 expression followed an inverse trend. The effect of melatonin, a major secretory product of the pineal gland, on endometriosis was examined in preventive and therapeutic models in mice. The results show that melatonin arrested lipid peroxidation and protein oxidation and downregulated proMMP-9 activity and expression in a time and dose-dependent manner while protecting and regressing peritoneal endometriosis. Moreover, the attenuated activity and expression of proMMP-9 were associated with subsequent elevation in the expression of TIMP-1. Our study reveals for the first time the role of melatonin in arresting peritoneal endometriosis in mice and a novel marker, expression ratio of proMMP-9 versus TIMP-1, was identified for assessing severity and progression of endometriosis.