The potential role of environmental toxins in the pathophysiology of endometriosis.


Environmental contaminants that are known to disrupt steroid action can influence the development of reproductive diseases. Our group has focused on whether 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD or dioxin) can disrupt steroid regulation of endometrial matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) expression. The MMPs regulate extracellular matrix turnover in normal tissues, but the inappropriate expression of these enzymes is associated with numerous disease states that involve invasive processes. We have previously shown that secretion of MMPs by human endometrium is critical for establishment of ectopic lesions in a nude mouse model of experimental endometriosis. In this report, we show that TCDD exposure promotes establishment of experimental endometriosis by interfering with the ability of progesterone to suppress endometrial MMP expression. Copyrightz1999S. KargerAG,Basel