Sunday, July 14, 2013

Immunology of normal and abnormal menstruation

Immunology of normal and abnormal menstruation.


Department of Obstetrics, Gynaecology & Neonatology, Queen Elizabeth II Research Institute for Mothers & Infants, University of Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia.


Normal menstruation is an inflammatory process, where the endometrial concentrations and functions of several leukocyte types can change greatly through the menstrual cycle, especially during the premenstrual and menstrual phases. These leukocytes probably have a range of functions related to mucosal protection, decidualization, embryo implantation, and the process of menstrual tissue breakdown, repair and remodeling. Some of these leukocyte changes are apparently linked to changes in the pattern of circulating leukocytes. Many immune cells have been identified in the endometrium, and those with most relevance to the processes of menstruation include uterine natural killer cells, macrophages, mast cells, neutrophils, dendritic cells and Tregs. A range of disturbances in endometrial immune cell numbers, distributions and functions, and in a range of different inflammatory and other mediators, have been identified in women with heavy menstrual bleeding or endometriosis. Sufficient evidence exists to implicate these immune changes in some of the functional disturbances and symptoms identified in these women. This field is greatly under-researched, and ripe for the wider application of modern molecular and cellular techniques in human and animal model studies.