Tubal origin of ovarian endometriosis

Zeng Yuan, Lijie Wang, Yiying Wang, Tingguo Zhang, Li Li, Janiel M. Cragun, Setsuko K. Chambers, Beihua Kong, Wenxin Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Endometriosis is a puzzling and debilitating disease that affects millions of women around the world. Ovary is the most common organ site involved by endometriosis. Despite various hypotheses about its cell of origin, uncertainty remains. On the basis of our clinicopathologic observations, we hypothesize that fallopian tube may contribute the histogenesis of ovarian endometriosis. To examine if the hypothesis, tubal origin of ovarian endometriosis, has scientific supporting evidence, we identified a set of novel genes, which are either highly expressed in the normal fallopian tube or in the endometrium through a gene differential array study. Among many differentially expressed genes, FMO3 and DMBT1 were selected as the initial biomarkers to test the hypothesis. These biomarkers were then validated in ovarian sections with foci of endometriosis by comparing their expression levels in the fallopian tube and the endometrium within the same patients with real-time PCR, western blot and immunohistochemistry analysis. FMO3 was highly expressed in the tubal epithelia while low in the paired endometrium. In contrast, DMBT1 was high in the endometrium but low in the fallopian tube. In 32 ovarian endometriosis cases analyzed by real-time PCR, 18 (56%) showed a high level of FMO3 and a low level of DMBT1 expression. However, 14 (44%) endometriosis cases showed a reversed expression pattern with these two markers. Results were similarly seen in the methods of western blot and immunohistochemistry. The findings suggest that approximately 60% of the ovarian endometriosis we studied may be derived from the fallopian tube, whereas about 40% of the cases may be of endometrial origin. The fallopian tube epithelia may represent one of the tissue sources contributing to ovarian endometriosis. Such novel findings, which require confirmation, may have a significant clinical impact in searching for alternative ways of prevention and treatment of endometriosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1154-1162
Number of pages9
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • biomarkers
  • endometrium
  • fallopian tube
  • ovarian endometriosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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