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The Expression and Cellular Localisation of Neurotrophin and Neural Guidance Molecules in Peritoneal Ectopic Lesions


Endometriosis is a gynaecological disorder characterised by the presence of endometrial-like tissue outside the uterus. It affects 10–15% of women during their reproductive age. The existence of close and complex relationship between chronic pelvic pain and endometriosis are widely recognised. However, the mechanisms of pain generation in women with endometriosis remain poorly understood. Immunohistochemistry was used to assess the density of nerve fibres stained with protein gene product 9.5 (PGP9.5) and the expression of various neurotrophins including glial cell derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), persephin, neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) and neurotrophin-4 (NT-4) and neuronal guidance molecules semaphorin 3E and Slit-2 and their receptors Plexin-D1 and Robo4 in peritoneal ectopic lesions from women with endometriosis and uninvolved peritoneum samples. Neurotrophins and neuronal guidance molecules and their receptors are synthesised in situ within peritoneal ectopic lesion which suggest their role in facilitating and maintaining the growth of nerve fibres. These molecules were found to be overall most highly expressed in the glands of endometriotic peritoneal lesions. In addition, the presence of ectopic lesions within the peritoneal cavity may affect the environment; in turn, the peritoneum altered appeared to play a role in the growth of nerve fibres and their development and maintenance in peritoneal lesions. Through exploring different neuronally active factors in and around ectopic lesions which may be contributing to pain generation, this study provides an insight and better understanding of the pain mechanisms associated with peritoneal endometriosis.

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This research was funded by National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) APP1023955.

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Correspondence to Razan Asally.

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Asally, R., Markham, R. & Manconi, F. The Expression and Cellular Localisation of Neurotrophin and Neural Guidance Molecules in Peritoneal Ectopic Lesions. Mol Neurobiol 56, 4013–4022 (2019).

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  • Neurotrophin
  • Neural
  • Guidance
  • Peritoneal
  • Endometriotic
  • Lesions