Down-regulation of angiopoietin-1 expression in menorrhagia

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Abstract

Angiogenesis is an essential component of endometrial repair and regeneration following menses. Perturbation of this process is associated with menorrhagia, a common gynecological disorder that results in excessive menstrual bleeding. Angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) promotes vascular maturation via the Tie-2 receptor, while angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) is its natural antagonist that destabilizes vessels and initiates neovascularization in the presence of vascular endothelial growth factor. To test the hypothesis that menorrhagia arises as a result of poor signal for vascular maturation, we have examined the expression of Ang-1, Ang-2, and Tie-2 in endometrium throughout the menstrual cycle from 30 normal women and 28 patients with menorrhagia. Ribonuclease protection assay and Western blot analysis showed Ang-2 expression was consistently higher than Ang-1 in normal endometrium throughout the cycle. However, with menorrhagia Ang-1 mRNA and protein were not detected or down-regulated, while Ang-2 was observed at similar levels in both normal and menorrhagic endometrium resulting in a greater than a 50% decrease in the ratio of Ang-1 to Ang-2 protein. In situ hybridization and immunohistochemical studies supported these findings and revealed cyclical changes in the expression of Ang-1 and Ang-2. These results suggest that the angiopoietin/Tie-2 system promotes vascular remodeling in endometrium and loss of normal Ang-1 expression may contribute to the excessive blood loss observed in menorrhagia.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)773-80
Number of pages8
JournalThe American Journal of Pathology
Volume160
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002