Role of apoptosis disturbances in external genital endometriosis

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External genital endometriosis (EGE) is currently considered one of the most common disorders in women at their reproductive age. EGE is a chronic disease that affects about 10% of women of reproductive age, leading to functional and structural changes in reproductive system, infertility, pelvic pain, and affects their quality of life. Moreover, the patients with endometriosis often suffer from depression, especially, due to pain syndrome. Endometriosis is associated with dysregulation of T-cell immune response, which presents as altered interactions between T-cells, macrophages, NK (natural killer cells), B-cells, thus allowing ectopic implantation of endometrial cells. The pronounced negative effect of EGE on the quality of life of patients, their reproductive function, impaired adaptation of the patients in community, and growing costs of treatment determine social significance of the disease and importance of appropriate studies. It is obvious that disorders of the immune system play a significant role in IGE development. However, despite extensive research in this area, the processes of apoptosis in IGE have not been sufficiently studied. Therefore, the aim of our study was to assess the origin of apoptosis disorders in women with stage I-II and III-IV of external genital endometriosis. We examined 71 patients with EGE which were divided into 2 groups: group 1 included the patients with EGE stage I-II (n = 31), and group 2, the patients with stage III-IV EGE (n = 40). The control group included 24 patients without EGE. The population profile of peripheral blood lymphocytes was determined by laser flow cytometry using Immunotex reagents, i.e., FITC-labeled CD8+, CD16+, and PE-labeled CD95+ antibodies. The number of lymphocytes entering apoptosis was detected using a diagnostic kit for AnnexinV+ (FITC) and PI+ from Caltag. The results were read on a BECKMAN COULTER EPICS XL-II flow cytometer using standard protocols.
An imbalance between activation and apoptosis of immunocompetent cells may be a significant cause of EGE. Induction of apoptosis by the Fas-FasL pathway in patients with external genital endometriosis leads to decreased cytotoxicity mediated by T-lymphocytes and NK-cells. A statistically significant decrease in the content of AnnexinV+ presenting lymphocytes suggests impairment of their receptor-dependent apoptosis.
Altered apoptosis processes may be responsible for the development of IGE by promotion of proliferation and growth of endometrioid implants.

About the authors

T. G. Avanesova

Private Clinical Hospital of Russian Railways-Medicine

Author for correspondence.

Avanesova Tatevik G. - PhD (Medicine), Obstetrician-gynecologist

344011, Rostov-on-Don, Varfolomeev str., 92a

Russian Federation

M. A. Levkovich

Rostov State Medical University


PhD, MD (Medicine), Associate Professor, Leading Research Associate, Department of Allergic and Autoimmune Diseases


N. V. Ermolova

Rostov State Medical University


PhD, MD (Medicine), Head, Obstetric and Gynecological Department


I. I. Krukier

Rostov State Medical University


PhD, MD (Biology), Leading Research Associate, Obstetric and Gynecological Department


M. V. Dudareva

Rostov State Medical University


PhD, MD (Biology), Head, Clinical Diagnostic Laboratory



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Copyright (c) 2021 Avanesova T.G., Levkovich M.A., Ermolova N.V., Krukier I.I., Dudareva M.V.

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