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Endometriosis, the presence of ectopic endometrial tissue outside the uterine cavity, is a common disease affecting women during their reproductive years. Current therapeutic success is often unsatisfactory because of limited insight into disease mechanisms. Nevertheless, angiogenesis plays an essential role in the pathogenesis of the disease, making it a potential novel target for therapy. In the current study, we demonstrate in an established mouse model of endometriosis that transient hypoxia in transplanted endometriosis-like lesions results in the up-regulation of hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha (HIF-1alpha), leading to the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a key player in endometriosis-associated angiogenesis. Systemic treatment with the angiogenesis inhibitor 2-methoxyestradiol suppressed HIF-1alpha expression in vivo, resulting in a decreased downstream expression of HIF-1alpha target genes, such as for VEGF, phosphoglycerate kinase, and glucose transporter-1. 2-Methoxyestradiol also suppressed VEGF-induced vascular permeability, as demonstrated in a modified Miles assay. Finally, systemic treatment with 2-methoxyestradiol significantly inhibited the growth of endometriosis-like lesions in a dose-dependent manner. In conclusion, hypoxia appears to play an important role in the pathogenesis of endometriosis and endometriosis-associated angiogenesis, and the angiogenesis inhibitor 2-methoxyestradiol may be a potential candidate for systemic treatment in the future.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Pathol

Publication Date





534 - 544


Angiogenesis Inhibitors, Animals, Blotting, Western, Capillary Permeability, Cell Hypoxia, Disease Models, Animal, Endometriosis, Estradiol, Female, Gene Expression, Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit, Immunohistochemistry, In Situ Nick-End Labeling, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Neovascularization, Pathologic, Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A