Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New theory on cause of endometriosis

Date:
March 7, 2014
Source:
Northwestern University
Summary:
Changes to two previously unstudied genes are the centerpiece of a new theory regarding the cause and development of endometriosis, a chronic and painful disease affecting one in 10 women. The discovery suggests epigenetic modification, a process that enhances or disrupts how DNA is read, is an integral component of the disease and its progression.

Changes to two previously unstudied genes are the centerpiece of a new theory regarding the cause and development of endometriosis, a chronic and painful disease affecting 1 in 10 women.

Related Articles


The discovery by Northwestern Medicine scientists suggests epigenetic modification, a process that enhances or disrupts how DNA is read, is an integral component of the disease and its progression. Matthew Dyson, research assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and and Serdar Bulun, MD, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Feinberg and Northwestern Memorial Hospital, also identified a novel role for a family of key gene regulators in the uterus.

"Until now, the scientific community was looking for a genetic mutation to explain endometriosis," said Bulun, a member of the Center for Genetic Medicine and the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. "This is the first conclusive demonstration that the disease develops as a result of alterations in the epigenetic landscape and not from classical genetic mutations."

The findings were recently published in PLoS Genetics.

Women develop endometriosis when cells from the lining of the uterus, usually shed during menstruation, grow in other areas of the body. The persistent survival of these cells results in chronic pelvic pain and infertility. Although the cause of the disease has remained unknown on a cellular level, there have been several different models established to explain its development.

Endometriosis only occurs in menstruating primates, suggesting that the unique evolution behind uterine development and menstruation are linked to the disease. Scientists consider retrograde menstruation -- cells moving up the fallopian tubes and into the pelvis -- as one probable cause. Previous models, however, have been unable to explain why only 10 percent of women develop the disease when most experience retrograde menstruation at some point. Nor do they explain instances of endometriosis that arise independent of menstruation.

Bulun and Dyson propose that an epigenetic switch permits the expression of the genetic receptor GATA6 rather than GATA2, resulting in progesterone resistance and disease development.

"We believe an overwhelming number of these altered cells reach the lining of the abdominal cavity, survive and grow," Bulun said. "These findings could someday lead to the first noninvasive test for endometriosis."

Clinicians could then prevent the disease by placing teenagers predisposed to this epigenetic change on a birth control pill regimen, preventing the possibility of retrograde menstruation in the first place, Bulun said.

Dyson will also look to use the epigenetic fingerprint resulting from the presence of GATA6 rather than GATA2 as a potential diagnostic tool, since these epigenetic differences are readily detectable.

"These findings have the potential to shift how we view and treat the disease moving forward," Bulun said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northwestern University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Matthew T. Dyson, Damian Roqueiro, Diana Monsivais, C. Mutlu Ercan, Mary Ellen Pavone, David C. Brooks, Toshiyuki Kakinuma, Masanori Ono, Nadereh Jafari, Yang Dai, Serdar E. Bulun. Genome-Wide DNA Methylation Analysis Predicts an Epigenetic Switch for GATA Factor Expression in Endometriosis. PLoS Genetics, 2014; 10 (3): e1004158 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004158

Cite This Page:

Northwestern University. "New theory on cause of endometriosis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140307133627.htm>.
Northwestern University. (2014, March 7). New theory on cause of endometriosis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140307133627.htm
Northwestern University. "New theory on cause of endometriosis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140307133627.htm (accessed November 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Following the closure of schools and universities in Guinea because of the Ebola virus, students look for temporary work or gather in makeshift classrooms to catch up on their syllabus. Duration: 02:14 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN Says It Will Scale Up Its Ebola Response

UN Says It Will Scale Up Its Ebola Response

AFP (Nov. 20, 2014) UN Resident Coordinator David McLachlan-Karr and WHO representative in the country Daniel Kertesz updated the media on the UN Ebola response on Wednesday. Duration: 00:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Takata Offers "sincerest Condolences" To Victims of Malfunctioning Airbag

Takata Offers "sincerest Condolences" To Victims of Malfunctioning Airbag

Reuters - US Online Video (Nov. 20, 2014) U.S. Congress hears from a victim and company officials as it holds a hearing on the safety of Takata airbags after reports of injuries. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins