Journal of cellular and molecular medicine

Telocytes damage in endometriosis-affected rat oviduct and potential impact on fertility.

PMID 25388530


Women with endometriosis (EMs) have unexplained infertility. The recently identified telocytes (TCs) might participate in the maintenance of structural and functional integrity of oviduct tissue, but so far the involvement of TCs in EMs-affected oviduct tissue and potential impact on fertility capacity remain unknown. By an integrated technique of haematoxylin and eosin staining, in situ immunohistochemistry and double-labelled immunofluorescence staining and electron microscopy approach, TCs were studied in the autotransplantation Sprague-Dawley rat model of EMs-affected oviduct tissue and in sham control, respectively, together with determination of iNOS, COX-2, LPO and estradiol. TCs were found in perivascular connective tissue and smooth muscle bundles in sham oviduct, with typical ultrastructural features (a slender piriform/spindle/triangular cell body, and one or more extremely long prolongations, emerged from cell bodies and extend to various directions), and specific immunophenotype of CD34-positive/vimentin-positive/c-kit-negative. However, in EMs-affected oviduct tissue (grade III), extensive ultrastructural damage (degeneration, discontinue, dissolution and destruction), significant decrease or loss of TCs and interstitial fibrosis were observed, together with elevated level of iNOS, COX-2, LPO and estradiol, thus suggestive of inflammation and ischaemia-induced TCs damage. Based on TCs distribution and intercellular connections, we proposed that such damage might be involved in structural and functional abnormalities of oviduct, such as attenuated intercellular signalling and oviduct contractility, impaired immunoregulation and stem cell-mediated tissue repair, 3-D interstitial architectural derangement and tissue fibrosis. Therefore, TCs damage might provide a new explanation and potential target for EMs-induced tubal damage and fertility disorders.