Endometriosis May Have an Autoimmune Component

Source: Human Reproduction 2003; 18: 985–9

Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) systems may be involved in the etiology of endometriosis, indicates research conducted in Japan.

HLA genes have already been implicated in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, systemic lupus erythematosus, and pre-eclampsia, and women
with endometriosis have higher rates of autoimmune and other chronic diseases than do women in the general population.

To investigate the possibility of an autoimmune contribution to endometriosis, Keisuke Ishii (Niigata University School of Medicine, Japan) and co-workers genotyped 83 women with a laparoscopic diagnosis of the condition, looking specifically for the HLA-DQB1 and HLA-DBP1 alleles.

Ishii et al report that the prevalence of HLA-DQB1*0301 was 16.3 percent among patients versus 8.3 percent among 222 healthy male and female controls. This difference reached borderline statistical significance (odds ratio, 2.13).

In contrast, the prevalence of the HLA-DBP1 alleles was similar between patients and controls.
In 2002, Ishii’s group reported that HLA-DQB1*1403 was significantly more prevalent among patients with endometriosis than in controls, and this
is the first study to demonstrate a significant association between the two.

“Further investigations by increasing sample size and by replication in both Japanese and other populations are needed to fully understand the
association between HLA genes and this disease,” the team concludes.