HLA-G is expressed by the glandular epithelium of peritoneal endometriosis but not in eutopic endometrium

B. F. Barrier, B. S. Kendall, C. E. Ryan, K. L. Sharpe-Timms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Background: HLA-G is a major histocompatability antigen with documented immune-regulatory function. Various epithelial cancers and tissue allografts have been noted to express HLA-G, which is postulated to aid in their escape from immunosurveillance. We evaluated peritoneal endometriosis and eutopic endometrium for the expression of HLA-G protein and gene transcript. Methods: Two experiments were performed: (i) archived tissue blocks from peritoneal endometriotic lesions (n = 15) and eutopic endometrium (n = 12) were evaluated for extent of protein immunostaining, and (ii) eutopic endometrial biopsies from women without (n = 17) and with (n = 24) endometriosis, and peritoneal endometriotic lesions (n = 14) were evaluated for presence of RNA transcript by in situ hybridization. Results: HLA-G protein localized in the glandular epithelium of 14 of 15 (93.3%) peritoneal endometriotic lesions, but not in stromal cells. HLA-G protein staining was absent in endometrial biopsies (n = 12). HLA-G gene transcript localized to the glandular epithelium in 13 of 14 (92.8%) peritoneal endometriotic lesions. HLA-G transcript was never observed in eutopic endometrium, regardless of cycle stage or whether from women with (n = 24) or without (n = 18) endometriosis. Conclusions: HLA-G is expressed by endometriotic glandular epithelium but not by eutopic endometrium under normal conditions. Differential expression of HLA-G suggests that peritoneal inflammation or cellular stress may up-regulate mechanisms to promote ectopic endometrial survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)864-869
Number of pages6
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Endometriosis
  • Endometrium
  • HLA-G
  • Immunology
  • Inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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