Ek M, Roth B, Engström G, Ohlsson B
Int J Mol Sci 20 (1) 189 [2019-01-07; online 2019-01-07]
Although endometriosis is considered an inflammatory disease, no reliable diagnostic biomarkers exist for use in clinical practice. The aim was to investigate the inflammatory profile in endometriosis using an exploratory approach of inflammation-related proteins. Patients with laparoscopy-verified endometriosis (N = 172), women with microscopic colitis (N = 50), healthy controls (N = 31), and age-matched controls from the general population (N = 100) were enrolled and questionnaires regarding socioeconomic factors, lifestyle habits, and medical history were completed. Sera from patients and healthy controls were analyzed for 92 inflammatory biomarkers using Proximity Extension Assay technology (PEA). Plasma AXIN1 levels were analyzed in patients with endometriosis and controls from the general population by ELISA. General linear model adjusted for age, Mann⁻Whitney U-test, and principal component analysis (PCA) were used for statistical calculations. Serum levels of AXIN1 and ST1A1 were increased in endometriosis compared with MC (p < 0.001) and healthy controls (p = 0.001), whereas CXCL9 levels were decreased. Plasma levels of AXIN1 were elevated in endometriosis compared with age-matched controls from the general population (30.0 (17.0⁻38.0) pg/mL vs. 19.5 (15.0⁻28.0) pg/mL, p < 0.001). PCA analysis identified four clusters of proteins, where one cluster differed between endometriosis and controls, with strong correlations for AXIN1 and ST1A1. Plasma/serum AXIN1 is an interesting biomarker to be further evaluated in endometriosis.