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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 12, Issue 2, Pages 125-129

Endometriosis and Infertility: A Multi-cytokine Imbalance Versus Ovulation, Fertilization and Early Embryo Development

1Department of Biology, University of Crete, Heraklion, Crete, Greece
2Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University of Crete Hospital, Heraklion, Crete, Greece

Copyright © 2005 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. 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.


Endometriosis is tightly linked to infertility which is manifested at very early or more advanced stages of the gestational cycle. Alteration on the production of a great number of cytokines/growth factors can be accused for problems on ovum maturation, fertilization or implantation. Yet, macroscopically these stages are characterized by the inability of conception. A closer look of the cytokinic profile during the conceptional and early gestational cycle could, however, localize the problem and allow a therapeutic approach. In this commentary, going through the cytokine requirement during ovulation, fertilization and the early stages of pregnancy, it became possible to specifically define the harmful endometriosis-induced cytokines for each of the conceptional and early gestational stages. Thus, regulating the levels of interferon-γ and tumor necrosis-α will facilitate ovulation and fertilization, whereas adjusting the levels of interleukin-1β and colony stimulating gactor-1 will facilitate implantation.