New Protein for Endometriosis Diagnosis


New Protein for Endometriosis Diagnosis

Researchers identified a new protein that can be used to diagnose and predict the outcome of endometriosis.

Key Points

Highlights:

  • TIMP3 (tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-3) is differentially expressed in endometriotic lesions and the normal lining of the uterus.

Importance:

  • The authors suggest that TIMP3 can be used as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of endometriosis.

What's done here:

  • Researchers analyzed the expression of TIMP3 protein in the endometriotic lesions and the normal lining of the uterus of 64 women who underwent laparoscopy

Key results:

  • The expression of TIMP3 was lower in endometriotic lesions compared to the normal lining of the uterus.
  • There was no statistically significant difference between the normal lining of the uterus of women with and without endometriosis in terms of TIMP3 expression.

Limitations:

  • More research is needed to further elucidate the possible role of TIMP3 in the development and spread of endometriosis and before it can be used as a diagnostic tool. 
  • There may be many other diseases with altered TIMP3 in the body so that the specific changes due to endometriosis should be clarified if any. 

Lay Summary

A protein called TIMP3 (tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-3) could be used for the diagnosis and prognosis (likely course) of endometriosis. 

The early diagnosis of endometriosis is of paramount importance because it can help to diagnosis and thus initiate the right course of treatment without delay, therefore, preventing the development of complication associated with the disease including infertility.

A group of researchers from Greece, led by Dr. Grigorios Grimbizis, analysed the expression pattern of TIMP3 in endometrial lesions and in the normal lining of the uterus, based on the knowledge that enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), the activity of which TIMP3 inhibits, are involved in the development and progression of endometriosis, that also related to the spread of cancer.

For the study, the researchers collected tissue samples from 64 women undergoing laparoscopic surgery who have not yet entered the menopause. Following the operation, 35 of the women were diagnosed with endometriosis while 29 were diagnosed with benign disease other than endometriosis.

The researchers then analyzed the expression of the TIMP3 protein in the lining of the uterus of all women, as well as the expression of the protein in the endometriotic lesions of the women with endometriosis. 

They found that the expression of TIMP3 differed between the normal lining of the uterus and the endometrial lesions.

More specifically, the researchers found that TIMP3 expression was lower in endometriotic lesions compared to the normal lining of the uterus.

Importantly, there was no difference between the normal lining of the uterus of women with or without endometriosis in terms of TIMP3 expression. 

MMPs belong to a group of enzymes that can break down proteins that are normally found in the space between cells and tissues. They, therefore, play an important role in the spread of cancer. Research has shown that they also act in the lining of the uterus facilitating the spread and growth of endometrial lesions. 

The downregulation of TIMP3, which normally inhibits the activity of MMPs could result in MMPs being more active than normal in endometrial lesions thereby facilitating the development and spread of the disease. 

According to the authors, more research is needed to further investigate these findings.


Research Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31185764


TIMP3 matrix metalloproteinases MMPs endometriosis spread diagnosis biomarker

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