PPAR activation inhibits growth and survival of human endometriotic cells by suppressing estrogen biosynthesis and PGE2 signaling. Academic Article uri icon


  • Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory disease of reproductive age women leading to chronic pelvic pain and infertility. Current antiestrogen therapies are temporizing measures, and endometriosis often recurs. Potential nonestrogenic or nonsteroidal targets are needed for treating endometriosis. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR), a nuclear receptor, is activated by thiazolidinediones (TZDs). In experimental endometriosis, TZDs inhibit growth of endometriosis. Clinical data suggest potential use of TZDs for treating pain and fertility concurrently in endometriosis patients. Study objectives were to 1) determine the effects of PPAR action on growth and survival of human endometriotic epithelial and stromal cells and 2) identify the underlying molecular links between PPAR activation and cell cycle regulation, apoptosis, estrogen biosynthesis, and prostaglandin E2 biosynthesis and signaling in human endometriotic epithelial and stromal cells. Results indicate that activation of PPAR by TZD ciglitazone 1) inhibits growth of endometriotic epithelial cells 12Z up to 35% and growth of endometriotic stromal cells 22B up to 70% through altered cell cycle regulation and intrinsic apoptosis, 2) decreases expression of PGE2 receptors (EP)2 and EP4 mRNAs in 12Z and 22B cells, and 3) inhibits expression and function of P450 aromatase mRNA and protein and estrone production in 12Z and 22B cells through EP2 and EP4 in a stromal-epithelial cell-specific manner. Collectively, these results indicate that PGE2 receptors EP2 and EP4 mediate actions of PPAR by incorporating multiple cell signaling pathways. Activation of PPAR combined with inhibition of EP2 and EP4 may emerge as novel nonsteroidal therapeutic targets for endometriosis-associated pain and infertility, if clinically proven safe and efficacious.

published proceedings

  • Endocrinology

author list (cited authors)

  • Lebovic, D. I., Kavoussi, S. K., Lee, J., Banu, S. K., & Arosh, J. A.

citation count

  • 27

complete list of authors

  • Lebovic, Dan I||Kavoussi, Shahryar K||Lee, JeHoon||Banu, Sakhila K||Arosh, Joe A

publication date

  • December 2013