Proteomic identification of neurotrophins in the eutopic endometrium of women with endometriosis

Proteomic analysis of neurotrophins within the functional layer of the endometrium identified two factors that are expressed differentially in the eutopic endometrium of women with endometriosis compared to controls.

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Aimee S. Browne, M.D., M.Sc., Jie Yu, M.D., M.Sc., Ruo-Pan Huang, M.D., Ph.D., Antônio M. C. Francisco, M.D., Neil Sidell, Ph.D., Robert N. Taylor, M.D., Ph.D.

Vol 98, Issue 3, Pages 713-719



To evaluate neurotrophin (NT) expression in the endometrium of women with and 40 without endometriosis


Prospective, cross-sectional, translational study


Academic hospital


Thirty-three reproductive age women undergoing laparoscopy for infertility, pelvic pain, intramural fibroids, or tubal ligation


Endometrial biopsies, protein microarrays, RT-PCR, ELISAs and Western blotting

Main Outcome Measures:

Neurotrophin proteins and mRNAs in eutopic endometrial biopsies


Among seven neurotrophic proteins detected on the antibody microarrays, RT-PCR analysis confirmed nerve growth factor (NGF), NT-4/5, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNAs in endometrial tissue. Quantitative ELISAs revealed that NT-4/5 (806 ± 701 vs. 256 ± 190 pg/100 mg protein, P=0.04) and BDNF (121 ± 97 vs. 14 ± 11 ng/100 mg protein, P


Neurotrophins are synthesized in situ within the endometrium. NT-4/5 and BDNF proteins were more concentrated in biopsies from endometriosis cases than controls, whereas NGF levels were similar. We hypothesize that the local production of NTs induces sensory innervation of endometrium of women with endometriosis. These NTs represent novel targets for the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.