Merli Saare will defend her doctoral thesis titled „Molecular profiling of endometriotic lesions and endometria of endometriosis patients“ on 8 June at 15:00.
Professor Helle Karro (Tartu University Hospital)
Professor Andres Salumets (University of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine, Tartu University Hospital)
Senior Research Fellow Maire Peters (Tartu University Hospital)
Professor Martin Götte, PhD, University of Münster (Germany), Faculty of Medicine
Endometriosis is a serious gynaecological disease characterized by the growth of functional endometrial tissue outside the uterus. Despite of extensive research it is still unclear why endometriosis develops and what are the molecular events triggering the implantation of endometrial cells into the wrong location. The fast development of microarray and sequencing-based technologies has opened new possibilities to describe molecular changes in endometriotic lesions and endometria of endometriosis patients. However, previous high-throughput studies in endometriosis have provided conflicting results, most probably due to the differences in study design and therefore, it is extremely important to pay attention to possible shortcomings before planning the study. The aim of our study was to find genetic, epigenetic and microRNA markers in endometriotic lesions and endometrial tissue that contribute to the endometriosis development, by using carefully planned study design and high-throughput analysis methods. Based on the results of our study we propose that chromosomal alterations in endometriotic lesions and endometrium and changes in endometrial DNA methylation are not the key events responsible for disease development. In microRNA study, signature of five upregulated microRNAs in endometriotic lesions that enable correct diagnosis of endometriotic lesions without the need for traditional histological evaluation of tissue biopsy, was found. Also, the results of this study accentuated the relevance of study design and indicated that for identification of lesion specific miRNAs the normal miRNA signature of healthy tissue should be considered. Furthermore, we found that normal epigenetic changes occurring in endometrium across the menstrual cycle phases should be considered when looking for disease-specific DNA methylation markers.