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New approaches to endometriosis treatment -- mouse experiments point the way

Lyon, France -- Possible new directions for the treatment of endometriosis, a painful condition associated with infertility that affects up to 15% of women of reproductive age, will be outlined in the presentation of two experimental studies at the 23rd annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (Tuesday July 3). Both concern targeting angiogenesis the formation of new blood vessels which is encourages endometriosis by providing a rich blood supply.

Dr. Edurne Novella-Maestre and colleagues from the Valencia Infertility Institute (IVI), Spain, studied Vascular Endometrial Growth Factor (VEGF), which is known to be particularly involved in the angiogenesis process and therefore in the development of endometriosis. They created an experimental model of endometriosis in nude mice in order to test whether dopamine agonists, much used in other infertility treatment such as the prevention of ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome, could be a new strategy for inhibiting endometrial lesions. We know that dopamine agonists are a safe treatment, and that they have been used for many years in order to stop breastfeeding, for example, without any major side effects, says Dr. Novella-Maestre, so we decided to see what effect they would have on the experimental mice.

The scientists found that the blood vessel formation in the lesions was significantly decreased. The percentage of new blood vessels in the two treatment groups was reduced in comparison to the control group, and we also found that the percentage of old blood vessels in these groups were higher, says Dr. Novella-Maestre. The total number of the blood vessels was not dissimilar in the treatment and control groups, but the ratio of new/old blood vessels, the numbers of cells growing in the endometrial area, and the area lesions were totally different, suggesting that there was inhibition of blood vessel replacement in the treatment group.

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Contact: Mary Rice
mary@mrcommunication.org
European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology
2-Jul-2007


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