A modified baboon model for endometriosis

Asgerally T. Fazleabas*, Allison Brudney, Bilgin Gurates, Daniel Chai, Serdar Bulun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Endometriosis is one of the most common causes of infertility and chronic pelvic pain and affects 1 in 10 women in the reproductive-age group. Although existence of this disease has been known for over 100 years, our current knowledge of its pathogenesis, the pathophysiology of related infertility, and its spontaneous evolution is limited. Several reasons contribute to our lack of knowledge, the most critical being the difficulty in carrying out objective long-term studies in women. Thus, we and others have developed the baboon as an appropriate nonhuman primate to study the etiology of this disease. We suggested that endometriosis develops in two distinct phases. Phase I is invasive and dependent on ovarian steroids. Phase II, which is the active phase of the disease, is characterized by endogenous estrogen biosynthesis. Following inoculation with menstrual endometrial tissues in two consecutive menstrual cycles, baboons develop lesions that are similar to those seen in humans. Laparoscopy at 1, 4, and 10 months revealed a preponderance of red raised nodules at the first month, while both red lesions and reddish-blue proliferative endometriotic lesions were evident at 4 and 10 months. The presence of glandular tissue and stromal fibroblasts in these lesions was confirmed by histology. Lesions obtained at 1 and 4 months expressed estrogen receptor β (ERβ), matrix metalloproteinase-7 (MMP-7), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) predominantly. However, aromatase expression was only readily evident at 10 months, although some lesions obtained at 4 months expressed low levels of aromatase. Therefore, our preliminary data suggest that endometriosis can be artificially induced in baboons, and the role of exogenous and endogenous estradiol in proliferation, angiogenesis, and immune modulations can now be evaluated in a potentially systemic manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-317
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002


  • Baboon
  • Endometriosis
  • Gene expression
  • Model
  • Steroid receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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