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Diagnostic blood test for endometriosis?

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Insights gained from a new study of endometriosis could lead to the development of a blood test to diagnose the condition. The metabolomic analysis, published in the Journal of Proteome Research, revealed that lipid metabolism varies between endometriosis mouse models and control mice, indicating that this difference could be exploited for diagnoses.

Endometriosis affects up to 10% of women of reproductive age in the USA, and is a chronic and often painful condition. In those affected, tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of it. This tissue still behaves as if in the uterus and therefore thickens, breaks down and bleeds in line with the woman’s menstrual cycle. Knowledge of how the condition develops is lacking and, at present, detection with certainty requires laparoscopic surgery.

There is existing evidence to suggest that a change in lipid metabolism is involved in the development of endometriosis. This new research, led by researchers at Pennsylvania State University (PA, USA), focused on whether the condition has a specific lipid profile that could lead to an effective and less invasive diagnostic test.

The researchers collected blood samples from a group of mice with the disorder and a control group and carried out a metabolomic analysis. They demonstrated that, compared with the lipid profiles of control animals, mice with endometriosis had a distinct metabolic profile.

This study suggests that a simple blood test, when combined with other clinical indicators, could be used to diagnose endometriosis. Further work will be required to validate the results in humans.

Sources: Dutta M, Anitha M, Smith PB et al. Metabolomics reveals altered lipid metabolism in a mouse model of endometriosis. J. Proteome Res. doi: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.6b00197 (2016) (Epub ahead of print); www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/presspacs/2016/acs-presspac-june-15-2016/toward-a-diagnostic-blood-test-for-endometriosis.html

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