Identification of the M-CSF Receptor in Endometriosis by Immunohistochemistry and RT-PCR


Address reprint requests to L Mettler, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Campus Kiel, University Hospitals Schleswig-Holstein, Michaelisstr. 16, 24105 Kiel, Germany.


Problem:  The aim of this paper is to provide further evidence that the dystopic proliferation of endometriotic epithelia is caused by the stimulation of peritoneal macrophages. It is essential to show that endometriotic epithelial cells express the macrophage colony-stimulating factor receptor (M-CSFR) which binds the M-CSF produced by the peritoneal macrophages.

Method of study:  For the detection of M-CSFR, samples of ectopic endometrium (n = 79) and eutopic endometrium (n = 18) were compared. The specimens were gained at operative laparoscopy in the proliferative phase of the cycle. Cryostat sections were used for immunohistochemical detection. For in vitro reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests, the tissue was immediately shock frozen on paraffin sections. For the in situ RT-PCR technique the specimens were placed in a para-formaldehyde solution, embedded in paraffin and later processed. The Gene Amp 1000 in situ PCR system (Perkin Elmer) was used as the thermal cycler.

Results:  M-CSF and the M-CSF receptor are present in eutopic and ectopic endometrium. Qualitatively, with both PCR techniques we found the M-CSF receptor to be present in all samples examined. Using the histochemical detection technique, the M-CSF receptor was found in nearly 70% of endometriosis patients compared with a statistically significant lower percentage in normal endometrium.

Conclusions:  The in situ RT-PCR technique and immunohistochemistry elaborated the need to trace the cellular sources of the M-CSF receptor. The identification of the M-CSF receptor in endometriotic tissue and in endometrium is apt to open a new experimental field in endometriosis research.