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Equine endometrosis, a frequent cause of subfertility, is characterized by periglandular fibrosis and no treatment exists. Endometrial biopsies not only contain diseased glands, but also healthy glands and stroma. Myoepithelial (ME) and myofibroblastic (MF) markers are calponin, smooth muscle actin (SMA), desmin and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). Epithelial vimentin expression indicates epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT). The aim of this immunohistochemical study was to investigate whether biopsies with endometrosis express MF and ME markers and vimentin. Compared to healthy areas, significantly higher percentages of endometrotic glands were lined by calponin and vimentin positive epithelial cells, whereas periglandular fibrosis contained significantly higher percentages of stromal cells positive for vimentin, desmin and SMA and significantly less calponin positive stromal cells. The rare GFAP expression was restricted to endometrotic glands. Of these, the most frequent features of endometrotic glands were higher percentages of SMA and vimentin positive stromal cells and the prominent epithelial calponin staining that occurred in 100%, 93% and 95% of examined biopsies. Results indicate plasticity of equine endometrial epithelial and stromal cells. Particularly, endometrotic glands show evidence for ME differentiation and EMT. The different expression of MF markers between stromal cells from healthy and endometrotic areas suggests functional differences. The characteristic changes in the expression of SMA, vimentin and calponin between endometrotic glands and healthy areas can be helpful to confirm early stages of endometrosis. The characterization of cellular differentiation may help to decipher the pathogenesis of endometrosis and could lead to therapeutic strategies. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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Name: Reproduction in domestic animals = Zuchthygiene
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Neoplasms of the endometrial stroma that sometimes involve the MYOMETRIUM. These tumors contain cells that may closely or remotely resemble the normal stromal cells. Endometrial stromal neoplasms are divided into three categories: (1) benign stromal nodules; (2) low-grade stromal sarcoma, or endolymphatic stromal myosis; and (3) malignant endometrial stromal sarcoma (SARCOMA, ENDOMETRIAL STROMAL).
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