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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effects of progesterone on growth factor expression in human uterine leiomyoma.

It is now evident that the use of levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (LNg-IUS) is effective for long-term management of menorrhagic women with uterine myomas because of a striking reduction in menorrhagia. This prompted us to characterize the effects of progesterone (P4) on the growth and apoptosis of uterine leiomyoma cells. On the other hand, we have recently noted that epidermal growth factor ( EGF) and IGF-I play a crucial role in prompting uterine leiomyoma growth through stimulating the proliferative potential and inhibiting apoptosis of cultured human leiomyoma cells. In the present review, attention was paid to evaluate the effects of P4 on the expression of growth factors ( EGF, IGF-I) and apoptosis-related factors (TNFalpha, Bcl-2 protein) in cultured uterine leiomyoma cells. Treatment with P4 augmented EGF and Bcl-2 protein expression, but inhibited IGF-I and TNFalpha expression in cultured leiomyoma cells. It is known that TNFalpha induces apoptosis in a variety of cell types and Bcl-2 protein is an apoptosis-inhibiting gene product. Thus, the results obtained suggest that P4 has dual actions on uterine leiomyoma growth: one is to stimulate leiomyoma cell growth and survival through up-regulating EGF and Bcl-2 protein expression as well as down-regulating TNFalpha expression in those cells, and the other is to inhibit leiomyoma cell growth through down-regulating IGF-I expression in those cells. This may explain why the size of uterine myomas during use of LNg-IUS increases in some but decreases in other instances. This may also explain why the size of uterine myomas during pregnancy does not increase despite the overwhelming increase in circulating concentrations of sex steroid hormones.[1]


  1. Effects of progesterone on growth factor expression in human uterine leiomyoma. Maruo, T., Matsuo, H., Shimomura, Y., Kurachi, O., Gao, Z., Nakago, S., Yamada, T., Chen, W., Wang, J. Steroids (2003) [Pubmed]
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