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Preliminary study suggests endomitriosis could contribute to infertility

N.B. Please note that if you are outside North America the embargo date for all Lancet Press material is 0001 hours UK time Friday 18 Oct 2002


Authors of a research letter in this week's issue of THE LANCET provide preliminary evidence which suggests that the peritoneal fluid of women with endometriosis may play a significant role in reducing fertility.

Endometriosis and infertility are known to be associated, but it is not known whether endometriosis causes infertility. Ovrang Djahanbakhch from Barts and the London School of Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, UK, and colleagues compared the effect of peritoneal fluid (the fluid environment in contact with the fallopian tubes) from women with early-stage endometriosis on the ciliary beat frequency of human fallopian tube epithelium (tiny hairs in the fallopian tubes which help the movement of the egg towards sperm).

The effect of peritoneal fluid of six women with early-stage endometriosis and six fertile women without endometriosis (the control group) on the beating frequency of cilia from sections of fallopian tubes of 17 women who had undergone hysterectomy was assessed. The frequency of cilia beating was reduced by around a quarter from the peritoneal fluid of women with endometriosis.

Ovrang Djahanbakhch comments: "We have shown that the peritoneal fluid of women with endometriosis significantly reduces ciliary beat frequency in comparison with peritoneal fluid from fertile controls...Further studies are needed to assess whether impairment of ciliary action and tubal transport occurs in vivo in women with endometriosis, and whether a detrimental effect on ciliary beat frequency can be correlated with fertility status."


Professor Ovrang Djahanbakhch, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 4th Floor Holland Wing, The Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, London E1 2BB, UK;
T) 44-207-363-8069;
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