• IL-1β;
  • TNF-α;
  • IL-2;
  • peritoneal fluid;
  • macrophage-conditioned media;
  • endometriosis

PROBLEM: The presence of various cytokines in human peritoneal fluid has been incompletely evaluated. Changes in cytokine levels may be related to the development of endometriosis, infertility, and activation of peritoneal macrophages. This study assesses levels of IL-1β, IL-2, and TNF-α in peritoneal fluid and macrophage conditioned media of women with endometriosis.

METHOD: Peritoneal fluid was collected from 51 women at the time of diagnostic or operative laparoscopy for benign gynecologic disease. Peritoneal macrophages were isolated, cultured for 24 h, and the culture media collected. IL-1β, IL-2, and TNF-α levels were determined by commercial ELISA kits.

RESULTS: The mean concentration of IL-1β and TNF-α was significantly higher in macrophage conditioned media of patients with endometriosis (P < 0.02). However, there were no significant changes in peritoneal fluid cytokine levels. Peritoneal macrophage concentrations were also higher in patients with endometriosis.

CONCLUSION: This study supports the concept that endometriosis is associated with activation of peritoneal macrophages, and a higher concentration of these cells. This activation is reflected by the increased levels of cytokines found in macrophage conditioned media. The absence of significant changes in peritoneal fluid cytokine levels would seem to indicate that the above derangements are not responsible for the development or progression of endometriosis.