APPEARANCE OF AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES IN PATIENTS WITH ENDOMETRIOSIS
Background. Endometriosis is a comon, complex gynecological syndrom defined as the growth of endometrial glands and stroma in an extra-uterine location. It affects 5 – 20 % of women of reproductive age.1 Nowadays, prevailing opinion about endometriosis is based on presumption, that endometriosis is a result of changed immune system, according to autoimmune theory.2, 3 Characteristics of autoimmune disease that are also found in endometriosis are female preponderance, multiorgan involvement, family occurence, possible genetic basis, response to hormonal manipulation, tissue damage, polyclonal B lymphocite activation, immunological abnormalities in T lymphocite and B lymphocite function and associated autoimmune disease. Women with endometriosis are more frequently affected by asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjögren syndrom and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Autoimmune disease is characterized by the production of autoantibodies against components of apoptotic cells. Anti-endometrial antibodies of IgG and IgM classes could be detected in 60 % of endometriosis patients. They show reactivity in glandular epithelium and stroma. Anti-endothelial antibodies specifically react with vascular endothelium and might be with anti-endometrial antibodies partially responsible for failure of implantation leading to infertility, wich is common in endometriosis patients. Anti-nuclear antibodies are frequent serological findings in patients with autoimmune disease, and could be detected in 29–47 % of women with endometriosis.4 Generation of anti-nuclear antibodies is a risk factor for development of other autoimmune disease in women of reproductive age. Studies have shown conflicting results on the presence of anti-ovarian antibodies in the serum of endometriosis patients and in the peritoneal fluid. Their presence is one of the possible causes of infertility.
Conclusions. Ethiopathogenesis of endometriosis still remains uncelar but currently available data suggest that there are many similarites between endometriosis and such autoimmune diseases as rheumathoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjögren syndrom etc. Important similarity is the presence of auto-antibodies. Autoimmune theory represents a challenge and at the same time opens the possibility of a new mode of treatement of endometriosis with immunomodulators.
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