Endometriosis is a condition whereby patches of the inner lining of the womb appear in parts of the body other than the womb cavity. It can cause severe pain and affects approximately 15% of women of reproductive age. Endometriosis is also associated with infertility, with 50% of infertile women affected by the condition.
Researchers discovered that an enzyme, called telomerase, is released by cells in the inner lining of the womb during the latter stages of the menstrual cycle in women who are affected by endometriosis. Telomerase is not commonly found in the cells that make up the body, but is uniquely found in the inner lining of the womb and in some special cells, such as sperm and egg cells. The enzyme is also found in cancer cells and is thought to be responsible for replicating DNA sequences during cell division in chromosomes.
Dr Dharani Hapangama, from the University’s Department of Reproductive and Developmental Medicine, explains: “Endometriosis occurs when cells of the inner lining of the womb are found growing outside of the uterus. At the time of a woman’s menstruation cycle these cells, called endometrial cells, are shed and can be expelled into the abdominal cavity. If these cells continue to live and are implanted in the pelvis and abdomen it can cause severe pain and in serious cases can lead to infertility.
“We found the telomere – a region at the end of all chromosomes that prevents the chromosome destroying itself during cell division – is abnormally long in women with endometriosis. During menstruation telomeres normally shorten in length with each cycle of cell division until they reach a certain length at which they can no longer divide. An enzyme called telomerase can extend the length of the telomeres so that they can continue to divide and this can happen in some special cells such as sperm and egg cells, but not normally in cells that make up the organs of the body.
“Our research shows, however, that cells in the lining of the womb are unique in that they can express this enzyme in the early stages of the menstrual cycle when cell division is important, but not during the latter stages when implantation of the fertilised embryo becomes a priority.
“Women who have endometriosis express this enzyme in both the early and late stages of the menstrual cycle which means that the cells will continue to divide and lose their ‘focus’ in supporting the establishment of a pregnancy. As a result the lining of the womb may be more hostile to an early pregnancy, and the cells that are shed at this late stage in the menstrual cycle may be more ‘aggressive’ and more able to survive and implant outside the uterus, causing pain in the pelvic or abdomen area.”
The research, published in Human Reproduction, will help scientists develop new techniques for diagnosing and treating the condition.
Protein 'spy' gains new abilities
28.04.2017 | Rice University
How Plants Form Their Sugar Transport Routes
28.04.2017 | Universität Heidelberg
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences