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Iron Overload Linked to Cell Growth in Endometriosis

Murine study suggests iron chelation therapy may reduce cellular proliferation

THURSDAY, July 27 (HealthDay News) -- Iron overload may enhance epithelial cell proliferation in endometriotic lesions, according to a study in mice published online July 18 in the journal Human Reproduction. The study suggests that iron chelation may prevent iron overload in the pelvic cavity and decrease cellular proliferation of tissue.

Jacques Donnez, M.D., of the Universite Catholique de Louvain in Brussels, Belgium, and colleagues injected human menstrual endometrium into nude mice. Control mice were given an intraperitoneal injection of endometrium, while other mice were given endometrium plus human erythrocytes or endometrium plus the iron chelator desferrioxamine. The researchers collected 78 lesions from 22 of 24 surviving mice.

The number and surface area of lesions were the same in the three groups of mice. However, cell proliferation in lesions and iron load in the pelvis was greater in mice injected with erythrocytes, compared with control mice. Moreover, there was an increase in the percentage of iron-loaded macrophages in mice injected with erythrocytes compared with control mice. By contrast, iron levels in the chelation group were similar to those in the control mice and cell proliferation was lower than in the control mice.

"Iron overload does not appear to affect lesion establishment but may contribute to the further growth of endometriosis by promoting cell proliferation of lesions. Iron chelator treatment could therefore be beneficial in endometriosis to prevent iron overload in the pelvic cavity and decrease cellular proliferation of lesions," the authors conclude.

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