Context: Endometriosis is one of the most common gynecological diseases in women with a prevalence rate of approximately 10%. Chronic pelvic inflammation has been observed in patients with endometriosis and is associated with disease severity. However, how pelvic inflammation promotes endometriosis progression remains unknown. Objective: The objective of the study was to investigate the regulatory network of proinflammatory cytokines in endometriosis progression. Design, Settings, and Patients: Immunostaining of human endometrial (n = 21) and endometriotic (n = 36) sections, quantitative RT-PCR, Western blotting, chromatin immunoprecipitation, and luciferase reporter assays in primary culture human endometrial stromal cells were performed. Autologous transplantation of uterine endometrium from control chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter- transcription factor II [(COUP-TFII) flox/flox] and uterus-specific COUP-TFII knockout mice was performed. Results: Expression of COUP-TFII was significantly reduced in endometriotic stroma. Reduction of COUP-TFII in endometriotic stromal cells was mediated by proinflammatory cytokines including IL-1β, TNF-α, and TGF-β1 via a common effector, microRNA-302a. Treatment with these proinflammatory cytokines increased the expression of microRNA-302a, which targets the 3′ untranslated region of COUP-TFII to cause its down-regulation. Intriguingly, down-regulation of COUP-TFII in endometrial stromal cells resulted in de-repression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). Further investigation demonstrated that COUP-TFII directly binds to COX-2 promoter to inhibit its transcription. Forced expression of COUP-TFII inhibited IL-1β-induced COX-2 up-regulation, whereas the knockdown of COUP-TFII augmented this effect. Conclusion: Because overexpression of COX-2 has been demonstrated to be a master regulator in endometriosis progression, our data demonstrate the critical function of proinflammatory cytokines and the COUP-TFII regulatory gene network in the progression of endometriosis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical