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Effects of the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system on cell proliferation, Fas expression and steroid receptors in endometriosis lesions and normal endometrium.

Author(s): Gomes MK, Rosa-e-Silva JC, Garcia SB, de Sa Rosa-e-Silva AC, Turatti A, Vieira CS, Ferriani RA

Affiliation(s): Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine of Ribeirao Preto, University of Sao Paulo, 14049-900 Ribeirao Preto, SP, Brazil.

Publication date & source: 2009-11, Hum Reprod., 24(11):2736-45. Epub 2009 Aug 6.

Publication type: Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

BACKGROUND: The objectives of this study were: (i) to evaluate the effects of the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (LNG-IUS) on both proliferation and apoptosis markers and hormone receptors of the eutopic and ectopic endometrium of women experiencing pain related to endometriosis and (ii) to compare the results with those obtained with GnRH agonist (GnRHa) injections. METHODS: Pre- and post-treatment endometrium and endometriosis specimens were obtained from 22 women experiencing pain related to endometriosis who were treated with LNG-IUS (n = 11) or GnRHa (n = 11) for 6 months. Changes in the expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen, Fas, progesterone receptor (PRA) and estrogen receptor alpha (ER-alpha) were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: The cell proliferation index was significantly reduced in the epithelium and stroma of both the eutopic and the ectopic endometrium after treatment with the LNG-IUS and GnRHa. Only LNG-IUS users showed an increased H-score for Fas in the epithelium of the eutopic and ectopic endometrium (P < 0.05). Expression of ER-alpha and PRA by the glandular epithelium was lower in the eutopic endometrium after both treatments, but this reduction was noted in the ectopic endometrium only after LNG-IUS treatments (P < 0.05). No difference was detected between groups for any of the markers. CONCLUSIONS: LNG-IUS reduced both cell proliferation and the expression of PRA and ER-alpha and increased Fas expression in the eutopic and ectopic endometrium of patients with endometriosis. Some of these actions were not observed with GnRHa.

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