Detection of a unique 32-kd protein in the peritoneal fluid of women with endometriosis

W. B. Nothnick, T. E. Curry, K. N. Muse, S. N. London, M. W. Vernon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objective: To test the hypothesis that endometriotic tissue secretes endometriotic-specific proteins into the peritoneal fluid (PF) of women with endometriosis. Design: A prospective design was utilized in this study. Setting: Tertiary care, university-based center and reproductive endocrinology laboratory. Participants: Women of reproductive age who were infertile with endometriosis (n = 19), as well as without endometriosis (n = 7), and fertile women undergoing tubal ligation (n = 6). Interventions: Collection of PF fluid via laparoscopy. Main Outcome Measures: Peritoneal fluid proteins were isolated and assessed by two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Results: Two-dimensional electrophoresis of PF proteins isolated a group of proteins (M(r) 32 to 40 kd, (p)I = 4.5 to 5.2) in all PF samples that was similar to the rat endometriotic implant-specific protein, Endo-1. This group of proteins consisted of 5 to 12 individual proteins with endometriosis PF containing a significantly higher number of proteins (median = 11) compared with either PF from infertile women without endometriosis (median = 8) or from women undergoing tubal ligation (median 7). In addition, one protein (M(r) = 32 kd, (p)I = 5.8), termed EPF-32, was detected predominantly (18 of 19 samples analyzed) in PF from women with endometriosis. This protein was also detected in PF from infertile women without endometriosis (2 of 7 samples) but not in the PF of fertile women undergoing tubal ligation (0 of 6 samples). The appearance of this protein was not associated with the severity of endometriosis. Conclusion: It is concluded from this study that PF from women with endometriosis predominantly contains a 32-kd protein (EPF-32) compared with the PF of women without the disease. The role of EPF-32 in the pathophysiology of endometriosis is not established but this protein may function as a diagnostic marker for endometriosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-293
Number of pages6
JournalFertility and Sterility
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1994

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Received July 9, 1993; revised and accepted October 21, 1993. * Supported in part by grant HD21962 from the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. t Presented in part at the 48th Annual Meeting of The American Fertility Society, New Orleans, Louisiana, October 30 to November 5, 1992. :j: Department of Physiology, University of Kentucky Medical Center. § Reprint requests: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Center for Women's Health, Room C366, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40536-0084.


  • Endo-1
  • Endometriosis
  • endometriotic implant
  • peritoneal fluid
  • protein analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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