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2023-06-27| R&D

Could Bacteria Be Causing Endometriosis?

by GeneOnline
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Endometriosis affects approximately 10% of women in their reproductive age and manifests as severe pain and bleeding. It can also cause infertility or increased difficulty getting pregnant. The underlying mechanism of this condition remains largely unknown, posing challenges in diagnosis and treatment. However, a study conducted by Japanese researcher Muraoka and his team shed light on a potential contributor to endometriosis, namely a bacterium. Discovering the cause could be the key to developing a treatment. 

Endometriosis arises when tissue from the uterine lining, known as the endometrium, migrates to various areas within the body, primarily the pelvic region. Upon attachment and growth, this condition frequently leads to lesions on reproductive organs and can negatively impact fertility. Additionally, individuals with lesions on their ovaries face an elevated susceptibility to developing ovarian cancer.

Related article: Myovant, Pfizer’s Endometriosis Pain Treatment Gets FDA Greenlight

Investigating the Role of Fusobacterium in Endometriosis

Published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the study involved 155 women from Japan. Among those with endometriosis, Fusobacterium was detected in the uterus of 64% of the participants, while 7% of women without endometriosis also had this bacterium present. 

This discovery raises intriguing questions about the role of Fusobacterium in endometriosis and its potential contribution to disease development. Understanding the mechanisms behind this association could pave the way for novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for managing endometriosis, a condition that affects millions of women worldwide.

To further investigate, researchers conducted experiments on mice. They transplanted endometrial tissue into the abdominal cavity of healthy mice, and within a few weeks, the previously healthy mice exhibited endometrial lesions. To explore potential treatments, the researchers administered antibiotics to the mice. Consequently, the size and frequency of the lesions associated with endometriosis decreased. These findings offer promising implications for the development of targeted antibiotic therapies in the management of endometriosis, potentially providing a new avenue for future treatment options that could alleviate the burden faced by individuals living with this condition.

Promising Results for Developing An Treatment

These findings present promising results for the development of an effective treatment for endometriosis. However, further research involving human subjects is still ongoing and essential before a treatment can be established. This is because mice do not menstruate, limiting their suitability as a model for this research. Human trials will provide invaluable insights into the effectiveness of the treatment, its optimal dosage, and any possible adverse reactions, ensuring that it can be safely and successfully implemented in clinical practice.

The upcoming research will encompass a diverse range of individuals, including women, transgender individuals, and those from various ethnic backgrounds and age groups. The study also acknowledges that not all individuals with a uterus identify as women. At its current stage, this research provides hope for the 190 million women worldwide who suffer from endometriosis.

In summary, the recent findings regarding endometriosis treatment offer promising results, but the research is still ongoing. The upcoming studies aim to include diverse populations and consider the experiences of individuals beyond traditional gender binaries. Continued research involving human subjects is essential to confirm the effectiveness and safety of potential treatments for endometriosis, ultimately offering hope for millions of affected individuals worldwide.

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