1. Medical Science Research Institute, Kyung Hee University Medical Center, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 130-872, Republic of Korea
2. Department of General Surgery, St. Vincent's Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea, , Suwon, Korea
3. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, St. Vincent's Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea, , Suwon, Korea
Endometriosis, although not malignant, has clinically demonstrated properties of invasiveness and metastasis. The pathogenesis of endometriosis, however, has not yet been elucidated. The immunological differences between endometriosis and malignant gynecologic tumors were analyzed by assessing C-type lectin receptors, which are associated with innate immunity, and immunoglobulin secretion, which is associated with B cell adaptive immunity, in the peritoneal fluid of these patients. Peritoneal fluid samples were obtained from 42 patients with benign masses (control group), 38 with endometriosis, and 43 with gynecologic (ovarian, uterine, and cervical) cancers. The levels of expression in these samples of mRNAs encoding the C-type lectin receptors Dectin-1, MR1, MR2, DC-SIGN, Syk, Card 9, Bcl 10, Malt 1, src, Dec 205, Galectin, Tim 3, Trem 1, and DAP 12, were measured by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, and the concentrations of IgG, IgA and IgM were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). Findings in the three groups were compared. The level of galectin mRNA was significantly lower, and the levels of MR2 and DAP 12 mRNAs significantly higher, in the endometriosis than in the control group (p<0.05 each). Compared with the gynecologic cancer group, the level of Bcl 10 mRNA was significantly lower, and the levels of MR1, MR2, Syk, Card 9, Malt 1, Dec 205, Tim 3, and DAP 12 mRNAs significantly higher, in the endometriosis group (p<0.05 each). The levels of MR2 and DAP 12 mRNAs were significantly higher in the endometriosis than in the control group (p<0.05 each), whereas the level of galectin mRNA was similar in the endometriosis and gynecologic cancer groups. IgA and IgG concentrations in peritoneal fluid were significantly lower in the gynecologic cancer than in the control group (p<0.05 each). However, concentrations of all three immunoglobulins in the endometriosis group did not differ from those in the other two groups (p>0.05). C-type lectin receptors and immunoglobulins act cooperatively and are closely associated in the pathogenesis of endometriosis. The decreased expression of galectin mRNA in the peritoneal fluid of the endometriosis group suggests that endometriosis and gynecologic cancers have similar immunologic characteristics.
Keywords: Endometriosis, Gynecologic cancer, C-type lectin receptors, Immunoglobulin