PROBLEM: To determine the expression of vimentin and cytokeratin in eutopic and ectopic endometrium of women with both adenomyosis and ovarian endometrioma and to evaluate their cyclic changes during the menstrual cycle.
METHOD OF STUDY: Twenty patients requiring hysterectomy with salpingo-oophorectomy were studied by immunohistochemistry according to their menstrual cycles.
RESULTS: Cyclic expression of vimentin was noted in eutopic endometrium and adenomyosis, but not in endometrioma. Cytokeratin expression did not change during the menstrual cycles. The mean intensities of epithelial vimentin were significantly different from each other, being the lowest in endometrioma, intermediate in adenomyosis, and the highest in eutopic endometrium. There was no significant difference in intensities of cytokeratin between adenomyosis and endometrioma, but these intensities were significantly lower than that of eutopic endometrium.
CONCLUSIONS: Lower intensities of cytokeratin in adenomyosis and endometrioma than in eutopic endometrium suggest that the ectopic endometria may have a lower degree of differentiation regardless of the site. The lower intensity of epithelial vimentin in endometrioma than in adenomyosis during the proliferative phase may reflect decreased functional activity, probably because of a pressure effect on the lining epithelium within the endometrioma.