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International Journal of Reproductive Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 179515, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/179515
Review Article

Theories on the Pathogenesis of Endometriosis

1Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Institute of Translational Medicine, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3BX, UK
2Centre for Women’s Health Research, Liverpool Women’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool L8 7SS, UK

Received 29 September 2013; Accepted 6 January 2014; Published 12 February 2014

Academic Editor: Dimitris Loutradis

Copyright © 2014 Samer Sourial et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Endometriosis is a common, chronic inflammatory disease defined by the presence of extrauterine endometrial tissue. The aetiology of endometriosis is complex and multifactorial, where several not fully confirmed theories describe its pathogenesis. This review examines existing theories on the initiation and propagation of different types of endometriotic lesions, as well as critically appraises the myriad of biologically relevant evidence that support or oppose each of the proposed theories. The current literature suggests that stem cells, dysfunctional immune response, genetic predisposition, and aberrant peritoneal environment may all be involved in the establishment and propagation of endometriotic lesions. An orchestrated scientific and clinical effort is needed to consider all factors involved in the pathogenesis of this multifaceted disease and to propose novel therapeutic targets to reach effective treatments for this distressing condition.