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Papers of the Week

2021 Dec 03

Int J Mol Sci



Neurogenic Inflammation in the Context of Endometriosis-What Do We Know?


Velho R V, Taube E, Sehouli J, Mechsner S
Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Dec 03; 22(23).
PMID: 34884907.


Endometriosis (EM) is an estrogen-dependent disease characterized by the presence of epithelial, stromal, and smooth muscle cells outside the uterine cavity. It is a chronic and debilitating condition affecting ~10% of women. EM is characterized by infertility and pain, such as dysmenorrhea, chronic pelvic pain, dyspareunia, dysuria, and dyschezia. Although EM was first described in 1860, its aetiology and pathogenesis remain uncertain. Recent evidence demonstrates that the peripheral nervous system plays an important role in the pathophysiology of this disease. Sensory nerves, which surround and innervate endometriotic lesions, not only drive the chronic and debilitating pain associated with EM but also contribute to a growth phenotype by secreting neurotrophic factors and interacting with surrounding immune cells. Here we review the role that peripheral nerves play in driving and maintaining endometriotic lesions. A better understanding of the role of this system, as well as its interactions with immune cells, will unearth novel disease-relevant pathways and targets, providing new therapeutics and better-tailored treatment options.