Researchers from Université Laval, Canada, and The University of Edinburgh, U.K., have proposed a novel therapy for endometriosis that exploits the probable role of prostaglandin in the development of the disease. The results were published in the Molecular Human Reproduction journal in a paper entitled “Selective modulation of the prostaglandin F2α pathway markedly impacts on endometriosis progression in a xenograft mouse model.”
Among all the explanations for the onset of endometriosis, a very frequent condition affecting 10% of reproductive-age women and caused when cells from the endometrium begin to grow outside the uterus causing inflammation, most agree that there is some change in the normal function of endometrium cells. A type of prostaglandin — PGF2α — and its receptor — FP — have been found in high concentrations in women with endometriosis. In their study, researchers treated mice models of endometriosis with an antagonist of FP receptor (i.e., a substance that blocks the connection between PGF2α and FP, thus decreasing the final effect of the prostaglandin signal).
Prostaglandins are substances important for the regulation of hormone signals in the reproductive tract. They contribute to a good function of the ovaries, menstruation, and embryo implantation. Furthermore, they have already been implicated in diseases that affect the inner lining of the uterus (endometrium), including endometriosis and endometrial cancer.
The results from this study showed that mice treated with the FP antagonist had both a lower number and size of endometriotic lesions, along with lower numbers of several substances produced in endometriosis patients. Moreover, markers and consequences of disease activity were also decreased.
The team led by Dr. Syed Furquan Ahmad acknowledged that, as the study was performed in mice, its results might or might not be directly applicable to women. Nevertheless, there is increasing evidence of the important role prostaglandin plays in endometriosis. As there is a great need for novel and more targeted (and with lower adverse effects) therapies for endometriosis, FP receptor antagonists may prove to be good novel candidates for severe endometriosis treatment when no other therapy is effective.