Oxidative Stress and Endometriosis: A Systematic Review of the Literature, 2017

Topics: endometriosis, oxidative stress, ROS

Authors: Gennaro Scutiero, Piergiorgio Iannone, Giulia Bernardi, Gloria Bonaccorsi, Savino Spadaro, Carlo Alberto Volta, Pantaleo Greco and Luigi Nappi


Endometriosis is one of the most common gynaecologic diseases in women of reproductive age. It is characterized by the presence of endometrial tissue outside the uterine cavity. The women affected suffer from pelvic pain and infertility. The complex etiology is still unclear and it is based on three main theories: retrograde menstruation, coelomic metaplasia, and induction theory. Genetics and epigenetics also play a role in the development of endometriosis. Recent studies have put the attention on the role of oxidative stress, defined as an imbalance between reactive oxygen species (ROS) and antioxidants, which may be implicated in the pathophysiology of endometriosis causing a general inflammatory response in the peritoneal cavity. Reactive oxygen species are intermediaries produced by normal oxygen metabolism and are inflammatory mediators known to modulate cell proliferation and to have deleterious effects. A systematic review was performed in order to clarify the different roles of oxidative stress and its role in the development of endometriosis. Several issues have been investigated: iron metabolism, oxidative stress markers (in the serum, peritoneal fluid, follicular fluid, peritoneal environment, ovarian cortex, and eutopic and ectopic endometrial tissue), genes involved in oxidative stress, endometriosis-associated infertility, and cancer development.

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