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Author Notes:

Corresponding author: Djana Harp, dharp@msm.edu.

The authors thank Mr. Lawrence Brako and Dr. Woo Kuen Lo for assistance with the electron microscopy, and Dr. Gregory Adams for technical assistance with the confocal microscopy at the MSM Core Facility.

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

The content of this publication is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIMHD or the NIH.


Research Funding:

This work was supported by NIH grants 5U01HD066439 and 1R01HD057235. This publication was also supported by the Research Centers in Minority Institutions Grant Number 8G12MD007602 from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) and 8U54MD007588.


  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Cell Biology
  • Exosomes
  • Endometrial stromal cells
  • Angiogenesis
  • MicroRNA
  • Infertility

Exosomes derived from endometriotic stromal cells have enhanced angiogenic effects in vitro

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Journal Title:

Cell and Tissue Research


Volume 365, Number 1


, Pages 187-196

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Our objective has been to establish a pro-angiogenic role for exosomes in endometriosis and to determine whether a differential expression profile of cellular and exosomal microRNAs (miRNAs) exists in endometriosis. We performed an in vitro study of human primary endometrial stromal cells (ESCs) and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). We isolated and characterized exosomes from ESCs from five endometriosis patients and five phase-matched controls. Exosomes were characterized by transmission electron microscopy and NanoSight technology. MiRNA was assessed by deep sequencing and reverse transcription with quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Exosome uptake studies were achieved by means of confocal microscopy. The pro-angiogenic experiments were executed by treating HUVECs with ESC-derived exosomes. We observed differential profiles of exosomal miRNA expression between exosomes derived from endometriosis lesion cells and diseased eutopic stromal cells compared with exosomes derived from control ESCs. We also demonstrated autocrine cellular uptake of exosomes and paracrine functional angiogenic effects of exosomes on HUVECs. The results of this study support the hypothesis that exosomes derived from ESCs play autocrine/paracrine roles in the development of endometriosis, potentially modulating angiogenesis. The broader clinical implications are that Sampson’s theory of retrograde menstruation possibly encompasses the finding that exosomes work as intercellular communication modulators in endometriosis.

Copyright information:

© 2016, The Author(s).

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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