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13-09-2009 | Gynaecology | Article

Altered HOXA-10 expression may explain female infertility


Journal abstract

MedWire News: Female infertility may partly be due to altered homeobox A10 (HOXA-10) expression in endometrial stromal cells during the implantation window, particularly in women with superficial peritoneal endometriosis, say French scientists.

Sachiko Matsuzaki, from Polyclinique-Hôtel-Dieu in Clermont-Ferrand, and colleagues measured the expression of HOXA-10 messenger (m)RNA and protein in the endometrium during the mid-secretory phase in 22 women with deep endometriosis, 20 with ovarian endometriosis, 20 with superficial endometriosis, 16 with uterine fibroma, nine with unexplained infertility, and 20 healthy fertile women.

HOXA-10 mRNA expression was significantly lower in glandular epithelial cells than in stromal cells, with no significant differences between the patient groups. HOXA-10 protein expression was not detected in glandular epithelial cells.

Infertile women from all groups had significantly lower HOXA-10 mRNA and protein expression in endometrial stromal cells than healthy fertile women. The percentage of women with altered HOXA-10 protein expression was significantly higher in women with superficial endometriosis than in those with deep endometriosis, ovarian endometriosis, uterine fibroma, and unexplained infertility, at 100 percent versus 72.7 percent, 70.0 percent, 68.8 percent, and 55.6 percent, respectively.

“The present findings... suggested that one of the major underlying causes of infertility in patients with only superficial endometriosis might be implantation failure,” the researchers conclude.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a part of Springer Science+Business Media. © Current Medicine Group Ltd; 2009

By Liam Davenport