Statins show promise for relief of endometriosis

5 March 2007

Canadian study shows that women suffering from endometriosis may benefit from statin treatment due to its inhibitory effect on angiogenesis.

Robert Casper and his team, from the Toronto Centre for Advanced Reproductive Technology, set out to investigate the inhibitory effect of a statin on angiogenesis in a three-dimensional (3-D) culture of human endometrial fragments in vitro as an “endometriosis model”.

Angiogenesis has been proposed as an important mechanism in the pathogenesis of endometriosis, and statins (3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitors) have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-angiogenic activity.

Endometrial samples were collected from 46 normally ovulating women who were referred for infertility treatment. Tissue cultures were divided into four groups according to lovastatin concentrations in the culture media:

  • 1 microM of lovastatin (n=10)
  • 5 microM of lovastatin (n=21)
  • 10 microM lovastatin (n=15)
  • the control group (n=46)

The investigators observed significant invasion of stromal cells into the fibrin matrix in control cultures, with vessel formation by week 2. In contrast, lovostatin at 5 microM and 10 microM abolished angiogenesis and inhibited cell proliferation, whereas 1 microM of lovastatin only reduced angiogenesis.

Casper and colleagues conclude that “It is possible that administration of a statin during, and for a few days after, menses may prevent viable endometrial cells in retrograde menstrual blood from implanting in the peritoneal cavity by reducing proliferation and angiogenesis.”

Source

Esfandiari N, Khazaei M, Ai J, Bielecki R, Gotlieb L, Ryan E, Casper RF. Effect of a statin on an in vitro model of endometriosis. Fertil Steril 2007;87(2):257-62.

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