Estrogen receptor 'beta' helps endometrial tissue escape the immune system and cause disease

November 5, 2015, Baylor College of Medicine

Endometriosis - tissue usually found inside the uterus that grows outside - thrives because of altered cellular signaling that is mediated by estrogen, said researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in a report that appears in the journal Cell.

"This is an age-old problem that affects many women," said Dr. Bert O'Malley, chair of molecular and at Baylor and corresponding author of the report. "As we unravel its molecular underpinnings, we come closer to finding an effective treatment."

Endometriosis usually occurs in women from age 30 through the 40s, with of uterine tissue on the ovaries, Fallopian tubes and other tissues associated with the outside of the . The most common symptom is pain - during menstruation, in the lower back and pelvis, during and after sexual intercourse and in the intestines. Occasionally, it occurs in other places. As many as 8 million women in the United States suffer from endometriosis at any one time. It can cause infertility and chronic inflammation.

In earlier research reported in 2012, O'Malley and his colleagues found that an isoform of steroid receptor coactivator -1 helped drive the inflammatory process found in endometriosis. Now, he proposes a new β protein network that promotes the growth of endometriosis.

Studies in human tissues found elevated levels of estrogen receptor β and studies in mice found a similar situation, the researchers said in their report. Compared to the normal endometrium found inside the uterus, endometrial tissues found growing outside had a gain of estrogen receptor β function, which stimulated the abnormal growth of the tissues. A compound that inhibited estrogen receptor β activity also inhibited growth of the abnormal endometrial tissue.

Ordinarily, such abnormal growth would be marked for apoptosis or programmed cell death. However, O'Malley and his colleagues showed that estrogen receptor β interacted with the cellular machinery that governs apoptosis, allowing the to escape immune surveillance and thus survive.

This gain of estrogen receptor β function increases ability of the endometrial tissues to invade tissue through special . This allows the establishment of lesions outside the uterus.

Explore further: Coactivator stokes continuing fire of endometriosis

Related Stories

Coactivator stokes continuing fire of endometriosis

June 4, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Endometriosis, which can cause severe pain and even infertility in the estimated 8.5 million U.S. women it affects, is driven by one of the cell's master regulators ­ steroid receptor coactivator ...

New drug compounds show promise against endometriosis

January 21, 2015
Two new drug compounds - one of which has already proven useful in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis - appear to be effective in treating endometriosis, a disorder that, like MS, is driven by estrogen and inflammation, ...

Interaction of estrogen receptor and coactivators seen for first time

February 26, 2015
For more than 50 years, Dr. Bert O'Malley, chair of Baylor College of Medicine's department of molecular and cellular biology, has worked to understand the estrogen receptor, how it works and how it partners with other molecules ...

How your sex life may influence endometriosis

May 1, 2015
Researchers are a step closer to understanding the risk factors associated with endometriosis thanks to a new University of Adelaide study.

New research provides better understanding of endometriosis

June 5, 2014
A mouse model of endometriosis has been developed that produces endometriosis lesions similar to those found in humans, according to a report published in The American Journal of Pathology. This model closely mirrors the ...

Recommended for you

LincRNAs identified in human fat tissue

June 21, 2018
A large team of researchers from the U.S. and China has succeeded in identifying a number of RNA fragments found in human fat tissue. In their paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine the group describes ...

Scientists solve the case of the missing subplate, with wide implications for brain science

June 21, 2018
The disappearance of an entire brain region should be cause for concern. Yet, for decades scientists have calmly maintained that one brain area, the subplate, simply vanishes during the course of human development. Recently, ...

Key molecule of aging discovered

June 21, 2018
Every cell and every organism ages sooner or later. But why is this so? Scientists at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg have now discovered for the first time a protein that represents a central switching point ...

Compound made inside human body stops viruses from replicating

June 20, 2018
The newest antiviral drugs could take advantage of a compound made not by humans, but inside them. A team of researchers has identified the mode of action of viperin, a naturally occurring enzyme in humans and other mammals ...

Research reveals zero proof probiotics can ease your anxiety

June 20, 2018
If you're expecting probiotics to reduce your anxiety, it might be time to put down that yogurt spoon—or supplement bottle—and call a professional instead.

Long-term estrogen therapy changes microbial activity in the gut, study finds

June 20, 2018
Long-term therapy with estrogen and bazedoxifene alters the microbial composition and activity in the gut, affecting how estrogen is metabolized, a new study in mice found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.