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Vergetaki, Aikaterini; Jeschke, Udo; Vrekoussis, Thomas; Taliouri, Eirini; Sabatini, Luca; Papakonstanti, Evangelia A. and Makrigiannakis, Antonis (2013): Differential Expression of CRH, UCN, CRHR1 and CRHR2 in Eutopic and Ectopic Endometrium of Women with Endometriosis.
In: PLOS ONE 8(4), e62313 [PDF, 1MB]

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Endometriosis is considered as a benign aseptic inflammatory disease, characterised by the presence of ectopic endometrium-like tissue. Its symptoms (mostly pain and infertility) are reported as constant stressors. Corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) and urocortin (UCN) are neuropeptides, strongly related to stress and inflammation. The effects of CRH and UCN are mediated through CRHR1 and CRHR2 receptors which are implicated in several reproductive functions acting as inflammatory components. However, the involvement of these molecules to endometriosis remains unknown. The aim of this study was to examine the expression of CRHR1 and CRHR2 in endometriotic sites and to compare the expression of CRHR1 and CRHR2 in eutopic endometrium of endometriotic women to that of healthy women. We further compared the expression of CRH, UCN, CRHR1 and CRHR2 in ectopic endometrium to that in eutopic endometrium of women with endometriosis. Endometrial biopsy specimens were taken from healthy women (10 patients) and endometrial and endometriotic biopsy specimens were taken from women with endometriosis (16 patients). Τhe expression of CRH, UCN, CRHR1, and CRHR2 was tested via RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry and Western blotting. This study shows for the first time that CRH and UCN receptor subtypes CRHR1β and CRHR2α are expressed in endometriotic sites and that they are more strongly expressed (p<0.01) in eutopic endometrium of women with endometriosis compared to healthy women endometrium at the mRNA and protein level. CRH, UCN, CRHR1 and CRHR2 mRNA were also more highly expressed in ectopic rather than eutopic endometrium (CRH, UCN, CRHR2α: p<0.01, CRHR1β: p<0.05) and protein (CRH and UCN: p<0.05, CRHR1 and CRHR2: p<0.01) in women with endometriosis. These data indicate that CRH and UCN might play an immunoregulatory role in endometriotic sites by affecting reproductive functions such as decidualization and implantation of women with endometriosis.

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