Research Papers:

Reduced alternative splicing of estrogen receptor alpha in the endometrium of women with endometriosis

Ying Zhang, Yong Zhang, Chunbo Zhao, Tiantian Yu, Ye Liu, Weihui Shi, Fengtao Shi, Xinmei Liu, Jianzhong Sheng, Hefeng Huang _ and Hong Xu

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:110176-110186. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.22701

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Ying Zhang1,2,*, Yong Zhang1,2,*, Chunbo Zhao3, Tiantian Yu1, Ye Liu1,2, Weihui Shi1,2, Fengtao Shi1,2, Xinmei Liu1,2, Jianzhong Sheng4,5, Hefeng Huang1,2,4 and Hong Xu1

1International Peace Maternity and Child Health Hospital, School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, The China Welfare Institute, Shanghai, China

2Institute of Embryo-Fetal Original Adult Diseases, School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China

3Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Second Affiliated Hospital (Jiande Branch), Medical School of Zhejiang University, The First People's Hospital of Jiande, Hangzhou, China

4The Key Laboratory of Reproductive Genetics, Ministry of Education (Zhejiang University), Hangzhou, China

5Department of Pathology and Pathophysiology, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Hefeng Huang, email: [email protected]

Hong Xu, email: [email protected]

Keywords: ERα; endometriosis; splice variant; dysmenorrhea

Received: March 21, 2017     Accepted: October 11, 2017     Published: November 27, 2017


Endometriosis is a condition which involves the presence of uterine stroma and glands outside of the uterine cavity and represents one of the most prevalent disorders of the female reproductive tract. The key symptom of endometriosis is pain, including dysmenorrhea, deep dyspareunia, and chronic pelvic pain. As such, endometriosis has significant economic consequences within the healthcare system and can influence the daily quality of life in affected patients. However, the pathophysiology of this disease and the mechanisms in which this condition generates pain are very unclear. This study, involving 30 women with endometriosis and 28 controls without endometriosis, aimed to investigate relative levels of estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) splice variants in the endometrium of women with and without endometriosis and investigate potential links to the severity of pain. Wild type (wt)-ERα was dominantly expressed in human endometrium while the expression of ERα-del.4, ERα-del.7, and ERα-del.3,4 was significantly reduced in endometriosis patients compared with healthy patients (p < 0.05). Furthermore, the relative ratios of wtERα:ERα-del.4, and wtERα:ERα-del.3,4 were associated with the severity of pain in endometriosis patients (p < 0.05). Consequently, analyzing differences in the relative levels of four types of ERα splice variant in the endometrium of patients with endometriosis may help in the development of endometriosis-targeted treatment and the development of appropriate therapies.

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