Yu Yu

Dr. Yu holds her Ph.D. in experimental pharmacology from University of Sydney, Australia and was a postdoctoral research fellow at Gynecologic Pathology Laboratory at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She was the previous recipient of Outside-the-Box Grant from the HERA Women’s Cancer Foundation and Ann Schreiber Mentored Investigator Award from Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. Dr. Yu is currently a senior research fellow at the School of Pharmacy and Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, Curtin University, Western Australia where her studies focus on therapeutics and biomarkers development for gynecological conditions.

Endometriosis Knowledgebase

Several studies have pointed to possible genetic factors in endometriosis. Targeted gene-based and high-throughput methods such as Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) have been previously employed to identify endometriosis-associated genes. However, the accuracy of these data are difficult to evaluate and can vary when studies in other larger cohorts. Therefore, endometriosis is genetically complex and require a more integrated method to provide meaningful study outcome. The current study by Joseph et al. from the National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health,…

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Clinical trial for the use of oral lactobacillus on endometriosis pain severity

The standard treatment of endometriosis consists of surgery and hormonal based treatment. There is evidence for the efficacy of these types of treatment, although their side effects remain a critical consideration for women. Based on molecular studies, changes in the function of immunologic cells like monocytes, macrophages, natural killer cells (NK), cytotoxic T cells and B cells have been detected in the peritoneal fluid of women with endometriosis. Lactobacillus bacteria consist of a number of species with Lactobacillus Aci­dophilus, Lactobacillus…

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A miniaturized version of endometrium: organoids for endometriosis research

Organoids are a miniaturized version of a tissue that is produced in culture through three dimensions techniques in order to better mimic the tissues of origin. These cultures are supposed to better replicate the complexity of a biological organ/disease. Endometrial disorders are a major problem in women’s health and one of the main causes of infertility. Some of the most common conditions include endometriosis and endometrial cancer. However, the pathogenesis of these conditions is not fully understood. In addition, there…

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Heme impairs macrophage phagocytosis

Heme is an iron-containing molecule that carries oxygen in the blood and also serves many essential biological proteins. It is released from ruptured erythrocytes during hemolysis. If not chelated, heme can cause harmful oxidative damage and inflammation. Thus, heme is usually bound to its scavenger hemopexin, to prevent the harmful effect. When taken up by a cell, heme is degraded by heme oxygenase-1 (HO). However, the capacity to scavenge heme may saturate in pathologic conditions, leading to tissue damage.  Women…

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Normal endometrium and cancer-associated mutations

Next-generation sequencing technology has enabled the detection of genetic mutation with high efficiency. It is believed that tumor progression is a result of accumulating mutations, so-called “driver mutations”, which confer growth advantages to the cell. Although such a process is well established in cancer, normal cells can also acquire somatic mutations over time. Intriguingly, recent studies showed that normal skin, blood, peritoneal washings, and esophageal epithelium contain somatic driver mutations that are usually associated with cancer.   In the current…

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The link between autoimmunity and endometriosis

A popular model to explain the etiology of endometriosis is Sampson’s theory of retrograde menstruation. In this model, the viable endometrial tissue is spread and attached to the peritoneal cavity through the fallopian tubes during menstruation, resulting in an inflammatory response. However, this theory does not fully explain the condition because not all women with reflux menstruation have endometriosis. Another theory to complement the retrograde menstruation is the autoimmunity theory, which suggests that endometriosis is associated with a chronic local…

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Could a defect in phagocytosis cause endometriosis?

The macrophages are important immune cells in the peritoneal cavity because they function to remove aberrant cells or tissues by the process of phagocytosis. In endometriosis, there is an increased number of peritoneal macrophages and heightened production of inflammation molecules such as cytokines and interleukin. The inadequate activation of macrophages in endometriosis can lead to their compromised function with reduced phagocytic capacity, thus contributing to poor clearance of endometrial lesions, resulting in endometriosis. Two molecules important for the regulation of…

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Behavioral Symptoms in an Animal Model of Endometriosis

Recent studies suggest that there is a relationship between endometriosis and some behavioral symptoms. Prolonged pelvic pain and the other endometriosis symptoms can often affect psychological and social functioning, resulting in issues with social relationships, sexuality, and even mental health. A previous systematic review showed that depression and anxiety are commonly associated with endometriosis. The biological mechanisms underlying the relationship between endometriosis and psychiatric symptoms; however, remains understudied. Filho et al. from Neuropsychopharmacology Laboratory, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Universidade…

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Antibiotic therapy for endometriosis

Current treatments for endometriosis are surgery and hormone therapy; however, these approaches may have significant side effects and do not prevent a recurrence. Therefore, alternative treatment modalities for endometriosis is needed. Recently, the idea that endometriosis may be influenced by the microbiome is developing. The women’s reproductive tracts are colonized by distinct microbial communities, which appear to correlate with conditions such as preterm birth and infertility. One study has also identified differences between the microbiome in the cervix and uterus…

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Correlation between Treg cells and peritoneal lesions in women with ovarian endometrioma

It is increasingly suggested that defective immune response is responsible for the survival and development of ectopic endometrial cells into endometriosis. In women with endometriosis, the immune system fails to create an inflammatory process that destroys endometrial cells at the ectopic site. One emerging research in this area is the role of a population of anti-inflammatory populations of T lymphocytes, called regulatory T (Treg) cells, which are potent immune response suppressor important to prevent immune destruction in all tissues. A…

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A newly found relationship between estrogen signalling and immune dysregulation in endometriosis

It is believed that endometriosis progression is "at least partly" due to dysregulation of immune cells resulting in the poor clearance of ectopic endometrial debris. In particular, aberrant macrophage function was found to be important in the establishment of endometriosis, since the primary role of macrophage is to engulf cellular debris. Macrophages differentiate into M1 (the classically activated macrophages) or M2 (the alternatively activated macrophages) depending on environmental stimuli. M1 macrophages kill microorganism and have a pro-inflammatory function, while M2 macrophages…

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Breast cancer incidence in women with endometriosis

The relationship between endometriosis and breast cancer remains unclear. Some studies have shown an increased risk of breast cancer among women with endometriosis, while others suggested no change in the risk of breast cancer. Previously, the authors have found that the overall risk of breast cancer in women with endometriosis was similar to the Finnish female population, irrespective of the type of endometriosis. However, the authors have re-examined the potential risk because breast cancer is one of the most common…

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Efficacy of an antibiotic, clarithromycin for endometriosis

Laparoscopic surgery is the standard treatment for advanced stages of endometriosis, followed by postoperative modalities including to progesterone, antiprogestogens, estrogen-progesterone combinations, danazol, and gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists to reduce recurrence after surgery. However, these drugs interfere with ovulation and fertility. The role of immune system in endometriosis progression and clinical symptoms has resulted in treatment using anti-inflammatory agents. Clarithromycin is a macrolide with an anti-inflammatory effect. It is used for different inflammatory diseases, such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, and sepsis.…

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Extra-ovarian malignancies risk among women with endometriosis

For some time, an association between endometriosis and subsequent cancer risk have been reported. In particular, scientific evidence has shown that endometriosis is linked with risk of certain ovarian cancer subtypes known as clear cell and endometrioid. Since endometriosis is influenced by the female hormone, most studies have mainly examined the risk on malignancies related to the female reproductive system such as the ovarian, endometrial and cervical cancer, or cancers in which estrogen has been suggested including melanoma, breast etc. However,…

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Crocin improves endometriosis

Crocin is a carotenoid chemical compound in the flowers crocus and gardenia. It is one of the most important gradients in saffron. Previous studies showed that crocin may have multiple pharmacological effects including anti-tumor, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammation. There are several therapeutic approaches to treat endometriosis. This includes hormone therapy, which is highly associated with side effect relating to the loss of bone density. Therefore, identifying new medication to inhibit the growth of endometriosis is crucial. This article by Liu et…

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Local inflammation and disease severity in endometriosis

During inflammation, immune cell receptors recognize endogenous molecules called danger-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) or ‘alarmins’. This process reflects tissue damage and is mediated upon cell death in the condition of strong inflammation. HMGB1 and IL-33 are important DAMP molecules. Recently, some studies have suggested the role of these “danger signals” in endometriosis pathogenesis. However, data on levels of these danger signals and mechanisms in endometriosis is limited. This study by Jaeger-Lansky et al. from Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical…

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Immune dysregulation in endometriosis

The connection between endometriosis and the immune system has long been proposed. However, to date, there is no real consensus on whether immune adaptations actually facilitate endometriotric lesion progression or they are a consequence of endometriosis re-occurrence. Thus, this article by Symons et al. from Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Queen’s University, Canada in Trends in Molecular Medicine aimed to research around immune dysfunction in endometriosis. The focus is on the composition and alterations of the immune system in…

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Complementary treatments for endometriosis symptoms: acupuncture, exercise, electrotherapy, or yoga?

Endometriosis is associated with debilitating symptoms in some women including dysmenorrhea, chronic pelvic pain, deep dyspareunia, dyschezia, and dysuria. There are a few therapeutic options to treat these symptoms; however, only a few studies have considered treating the pain symptoms using conventional complementary treatments. This article by Mira et al. from Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the University of Campinas in Brazil, was published in International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics with the main aim to identify randomized clinical trials…

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Therapeutic potential of ginseng based compound in preclinical models of endometriosis

Currently, the drug option for women with endometriosis mainly focus on reducing estrogens levels (e.g., progestins, androgens, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists, and aromatase inhibitors). However, these therapies can have low effectiveness with frequent recurrence and considerable side effects. Therefore, there is a need to develop more effective treatments that may be based on other mechanisms of action. Autophagy is a regulated cellular mechanism in which the cell that mediates natural sequestration of cellular organelles and macromolecules, allowing for orderly degradation…

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N-acetyl cysteine, alpha lipoic acid and bromelain improved endometriosis-associated pelvic pain

Oxidative stress has been implicated in many processes that lead to the development and progression of endometriosis. Typically, women with endometriosis have to endure pelvic pain which negatively impacts their quality of life. Pelvic pain can be chronic and related to dysmenorrhea and dyspareunia. Endometriosis treatment includes gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogs and hormonal contraceptives. These treatments are not suitable for women who wish to become pregnant. Other treatments options that can preserve fertility include analgesics and/or anti-inflammatory agents. One of the…

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