Objectives: Chronic inflammation and pelvic adhesion play a critical role in endometriosis-related infertility. Research studies suggest that TGF-β superfamily members, such as soluble endoglin (sEng), growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF-15) and tumor growth factor-beta (TGF-β1) contribute to the regulation of inflammation, angiogenesis and cell adhesion. The objective of this study is to investigate the association between the concentrations of these TGF-β-related members and the clinical parameters of infertile women with endometriosis. Materials and methods: Sixty-five infertile women who underwent laparoscopy were divided into two groups in this study: those who had endometriosis (n = 33) and control subjects with benign gynecologic disorders (n = 32). The levels of TGF-β- related members in peritoneal fluid and serum were evaluated by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Clinical and hematological parameters were documented and analyzed. Results: Endometriosis cases had significantly higher levels of sEng, GDF-15 and TGF-β1 in peritoneal fluid (p<0.0005) compared to control subjects, but not in serum. Moreover, serum GDF-15 level was significantly elevated in the late-stage endometriosis compared to the early-stage group. The levels of three TGF-β related molecules in peritoneal fluid showed positive correlations with rASRM score. Blood neutrophil counts have correlation with the peritoneal sEng concentration. Conclusion: Our novel evidence on the elevated concentration of peritoneal sEng and GDF-15 in endometriosis, specifically in the late-stage, may indicate the essential role of TGF-β-dependent signaling in endometriosis. Serum GDF-15 might serve as a candidate biomarker for endometriosis severity. Further studies are warranted to investigate the role and regulation of these molecules in endometriosis.
- Soluble endoglin