The significance of immune microenvironment in patients with endometriosis

Vol. 64 No. 3, 2023


Ioana Pavaleanu, Raluca Anca Balan, Adriana Grigoras, Teodora Ana Balan, Cornelia Amalinei

Endometriosis represents an estrogen-dependent disease of the female reproductive system and intra- and extraperitoneal regions, with chronic feature. Currently, immune cells, such as macrophages and lymphocytes, are considered to play a pivotal role in angiogenesis and invasion of endometriotic cells through matrix remodeling. Additionally, various studies have revealed the role of E-cadherin, beta-catenin, along with steroid hormone receptors in endometriosis development. In this context, our study aimed to analyze the relationship between the cellular immune profile and E-cadherin, beta-catenin, estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha), and progesterone receptor (PR) immunoexpression in endometriosis tissues, along with an analysis of the possible association between serological parameters and immunohistochemical (IHC) markers. The study included 53 patients diagnosed with ovarian or cutaneous abdominal wall endometriosis, which have been investigated by routine histology, immunohistochemistry, and serum analysis. The IHC exam showed an increased density of cluster of differentiation (CD)4+ T-cells, CD8+ T-cells, and CD68+ macrophages, along with variable increased expressions of E-cadherin, beta-catenin, ERalpha, and PR. Statistical analysis revealed an intense positive correlation between CD68 and PR expression (p<0.05), without any other statistically significant correlations between IHC markers or between IHC and serological markers. Our study supports that endometriosis is an immune-dependent disease characterized by an abnormal morphological profile of T-cells and macrophages in endometriotic implants. Our study provides additional data useful in the understanding the immune milieu of endometriosis in the context of its complex pathogenic molecular mechanism. Further research is needed to develop new immunological therapeutic approaches, like immune checkpoint inhibitors administration or T-cell-targeted immunotherapy in these patients.

Corresponding author: Adriana Grigoras, Associate Professor, MD, PhD; e-mail:,,; Raluca Anca Balan, Professor, MD, PhD; e-mail:,

DOI: 10.47162/RJME.64.3.06 Download PDF
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