The Peritoneum Is Both a Source and Target of TGF-β in Women with Endometriosis

Vicky J Young, Jeremy K Brown, Philippa T K Saunders, W Colin Duncan, Andrew W Horne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) is believed to play a major role in the aetiology of peritoneal endometriosis. We aimed to determine if the peritoneum is a source of TGF-β and if peritoneal TGF-β expression, reception or target genes are altered in women with endometriosis. Peritoneal fluid, peritoneal bushings and peritoneal biopsies were collected from women with and without endometriosis. TGF-β1, 2 and 3 protein concentrations were measured in the peritoneal fluid. TGF-β1 was measured in mesothelial cell conditioned media. Control peritoneum and peritoneum prone to endometriosis (within Pouch of Douglas) from women without disease (n = 16) and peritoneum distal and adjacent to endometriosis lesions in women with endometriosis (n = 15) and were analysed for TGF-β expression, reception and signalling by immunohistochemistry, qRT-PCR and a TGF-β signalling PCR array. TGF-β1 was increased in the peritoneal fluid of women with endometriosis compared to those without disease (P<0.05) and peritoneal mesothelial cells secrete TGF-β1 in-vitro. In women with endometriosis, peritoneum from sites adjacent to endometriosis lesions expressed higher levels of TGFB1 mRNA when compared to distal sites (P<0.05). The TGF-β-stimulated Smad 2/3 signalling pathway was active in the peritoneum and there were significant increases (P<0.05) in expression of genes associated with tumorigenesis (MAPK8, CDC6), epithelial-mesenchymal transition (NOTCH1), angiogenesis (ID1, ID3) and neurogenesis (CREB1) in the peritoneum of women with endometriosis. In conclusion, the peritoneum, and in particular, the peritoneal mesothelium, is a source of TGF-β1 and this is enhanced around endometriosis lesions. The expression of TGF-β-regulated genes is altered in the peritoneum of women with endometriosis and this may promote an environment favorable to lesion formation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere106773
Number of pages10
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sep 2014


  • BAD


Dive into the research topics of 'The Peritoneum Is Both a Source and Target of TGF-β in Women with Endometriosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this