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      Environmental dioxins and endometriosis.

      1 ,

      Seminars in reproductive medicine

      Georg Thieme Verlag KG

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          Abstract

          Endometriosis is a common gynecologic problem of unknown etiology. Estrogen dependence and immune modulation are established features of this disease, and environmental contaminants have been suggested to play a role in the pathobiology of this disease as well. Previous work in nonhuman primates has shown that exposure to the dioxin 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) is associated with an increased prevalence and severity of endometriosis. Further animal experiments have implicated dioxin and dioxin-like compounds in this disease. Rodent studies support the plausibility of a role of environmental contaminants in the pathophysiology of endometriosis, although a convincing mechanistic hypothesis has yet to be advanced. Small hospital-based case-control studies have failed to provide compelling evidence for or against an association of environmental contaminants and endometriosis. Herein we review evidence that dioxin and dioxin-like compounds are potent modulators of immune and endocrine function critical to the pathobiology of endometriosis. Furthermore, perspectives on the potential mechanism(s) of dioxin and dioxin-like compound-induced toxicity in endometriosis, important knowledge needs, potential animal models for endometriosis studies, and considerations integral to future human case-control studies are discussed.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Semin. Reprod. Med.
          Seminars in reproductive medicine
          Georg Thieme Verlag KG
          1526-8004
          1526-4564
          May 2003
          : 21
          : 2
          Affiliations
          [1 ] The International Endometriosis Association, 8585 N. 76th Place, Milwaukee, WI 53223, USA.
          Article
          10.1055/s-2003-41321
          12917784

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